In the West, isolated rain and snow showers are confined to the northern Rockies and northern Intermountain region. Drought continues to develop and expand, especially from northern and central California to the western slopes of the central Rockies. For the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack to reach a “normal” level, precipitation would need to average more than 2½ inches per week during the remaining 9 weeks of the 2011-12 wet season.

On the Plains, unusually warm weather prevails. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 60°F as far north as western South Dakota. Warm, dry, breezy weather across the nation’s mid-section remains a concern with respect to the health and dormancy of the winter wheat crop.

In the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather prevails, except for snow showers in the upper Great Lakes region. Generally minor lowland flooding persists in a few river basins across the eastern Corn Belt.

In the South, drought continues to adversely affect cool-season pastures in several areas, including the western Gulf Coast region and the lower Southeast. In addition, much of the South is experiencing an enhanced risk of wildfire activity.

Outlook: Cooler air will gradually invade the West, with below-normal temperatures shifting to the south-central U.S. by week’s end. In contrast, above-normal temperatures will prevail in most areas from the northern Plains into the Midwest and East. For much of the week, precipitation will be confined to southern Texas and the nation’s northern tier. However, mid-week rain showers will affect the Southeast, followed by more significant precipitation late in the week across the south-central U.S. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for February 4-8 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal weather in the lower Southeast. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal conditions across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with near-normal precipitation in southern portions of Texas and Florida, and from the Great Lakes region into New England.