In the West, a potent storm is approaching the northern Pacific Coast. Showers well in advance of the storm are arriving in the Pacific Northwest. Dry weather prevails elsewhere in the West, although cooler-than-normal conditions are largely confined to the southern Rockies and portions of the Pacific Coast States.

On the Plains, warm, dry weather prevails, except for some lingering rain showers across eastern portions of Nebraska and the Dakotas. Winter wheat is beginning to break dormancy across the northern Plains and actively growing farther south. Soil moisture shortages remain a significant concern on the southern High Plains, where today’s high temperatures will generally range from 75 to 85°F.

In the Corn Belt, a slow-moving disturbance is producing widespread rain showers. Precipitation is heaviest across the eastern Corn Belt and the Great Lakes region. Showers are especially beneficial across the upper Midwest, where drought has been gradually developing since last autumn.

In the South, a band of rain showers and thunderstorms stretches from the Tennessee Valley to the central Gulf Coast. Elsewhere, dry weather and near- to above-normal temperatures are promoting spring fieldwork and the growth of pastures, winter grains, and fruit crops.

Outlook: A disturbance over the Midwest will drift into southeastern Canada by mid-week, resulting in a diminishing area of showers across the eastern U.S. Meanwhile, unusually warm conditions will persist for the remainder of the week from the Plains to the East Coast. Cooler-than-normal weather will be mostly limited to the Pacific Coast States. For much of the week, significant storminess will be confined to the Pacific Northwest, where 5-day precipitation totals could reach 4 to 8 inches. Some of the rain and snow will spread as far south as northern California. Toward week’s end, scattered rain showers will return to portions of the South, East, and Midwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 17-21 calls for above-normal temperatures from the Plains to the East Coast, while cooler-than-normal weather will be confined to the West. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the nation will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in the Atlantic Coast States.