In the West, isolated rain and snow showers are confined to the region’s northern tier. Below-normal temperatures cover much of the West, but warm, breezy conditions are increasing the risk of wildfires from southern California into the Rio Grande Valley.

On the Plains, cold weather prevails, except for lingering warmth across the southern half of Texas. The return to cold weather has kept winter wheat dormant on the northern Plains and has slowed or halted wheat growth on the central and southern Plains. In addition, some light snow is falling across the middle and upper Missouri Valley, from Montana and the Dakotas into eastern Nebraska.

In the Corn Belt, unusually cold weather is maintaining stress on livestock. Once again, this morning’s temperatures fell below 0°F in parts of the upper Midwest. Some light snow is developing in the far western Corn Belt, across the middle Missouri Valley.

In the South, freezing rain is occurring across the Ozark Plateau, while a band of rain stretches from central and southern Arkansas into Georgia. Just to the north, freeze warnings are in effect this morning in parts of the Carolinas and northern Georgia. Elsewhere, dry weather favors fieldwork along and near the Gulf Coast.

Outlook: A developing storm system over the nation’s mid-section will reach the western and central Gulf Coast States on Saturday and intensify near the Mid-Atlantic Coast early next week. Significant snow will accompany the storm from the central Plains to the central Appalachians, including parts of the Ohio and middle Mississippi Valleys. Farther south, storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches in the Southeast, except for only light showers across Florida’s peninsula. In contrast, little or no precipitation will fall during the next 5 days in the north-central U.S. and from California to western and southern Texas. Most of the U.S. will continue to experience significantly colder-than-normal weather into next week, except for a return to above-normal temperatures in the Pacific Coast States by Monday and the remainder of the West thereafter. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 27-31 calls for colder-than-normal conditions east of the Rockies and along the Pacific Coast, while near-normal temperatures will prevail in the West. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the lower Southeast.