In the West, cold weather is limited to the central and southern Rockies. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather and above-normal temperatures favor fieldwork and crop devel opment. Winter wheat is actively growing across the interior Northwest, where 7% of Idaho’s crop was jointing by March 31.

On the Plains, warmer air is expanding across northern areas, although cold weather persists along the Canadian border. Meanwhile on the southern Plains, precipitation continues to provide relief to drought- stressed rangeland, pastures, and winter grains. On Marc h 31, the majority of rangeland and pastures were rated very poor to poor in states such as Colorado (79%), Kansas (79%), Oklahoma (66%), and Texas (63%).

In the Corn Belt, a high-pressure system centered over the region is maintaining unusually cold conditions, although winds have diminished. Fieldwork remains on hold in most of the Midwest, in part due to low soil temperatures.

In the South
, showers and thunderstorms continue to spread eastward, especially in the central Gulf Coast region. The rain is providing beneficial moisture for recently planted summer crops, including corn and rice.

Outlook: A storm system affecting the south-central U.S. will move eastward, reaching the southern Atlantic Coast by Friday. Additional rainfall could exceed an inch from the southeastern Plains to the southern Atlantic States, with locally much higher amounts expected along the Gulf Coast. A warming trend will follow the rainfall, with near- to above-normal temperatures expected nearly nationwide by week’s end. Cold weather will persist, however, across portions of the nation’s northern tier, accompanied by occasional rain and snow showers. Elsewhere, showery weather will overspread the Northwest on Thursday and persist for several days. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for April 8-12 calls for above-normal temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail in the Southwest and Intermountain West. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the Plains, Midwest, and Mid-South will contrast with drier-than-normal weather in the Pacific Coast States and along the southern Atlantic Coast.