Weather report: Snow hanging on across the northern Plains

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In the West, a spring storm is gradually becoming organized across the southern Great Basin. The developing storm is already producing windy conditions and widespr ead rain and snow showers, primarily from the Sierra Nevada to the Intermountain West. In conjunction with the storm, the West’s recent warm spell has ended.

On the Plains, snow is falling across parts of Montana and North Dakota. In stark contrast, very warm, breezy conditions persist on the southern High Plains, maintaining stress on rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat, as well as increasing the risk of wildfires. Across the re mainder of the region, cloudiness is increasing in advance of an approaching storm system, while dense fog has developed in some areas from South Dakota to Kansas.

In the Corn Belt, a low-pressure system crossing the Mississippi Valley is producing widespread rain showers. Early today, some of the heaviest rain is falling across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Despite a recent warming trend, especially in the southern Corn Belt, spring fieldwork is off to a slow start.

In the South, warm, dry weather favors fieldwork and a rapid crop development pace. Most of the South has adequate soil moisture; notable exceptions include southern Texas and Florida’s peninsula, although most of southern Florida received at least 1 to 2 inches of rain late last week.

Outlook: During the next several days, a strong storm will generate active weather. The slow-moving storm will cross the southern Plains on Tuesday and reach the Corn Belt by Thursday. Toward week’s end, the low-pressure system will exit the New England coast. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, from eastern Nebraska into the northern Mid-Atlantic States, and in the states bordering the middle and lower Mississippi River. Meanwhile, heavy snow can be expected from the Intermountain West into the upper Midwest. Elsewhere, windy conditions and wildfires will remain a threat across parts of the southern High Plains and the Southwest, while locally severe thunderstorms will march eastward from the central and southern Plains. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for April 13-17 calls for below-normal temperatures along and northwest of a line from California to Michigan, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail from the southern Rockies into the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the northern tier of the country will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from California to the southern half of the Plains.

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