In the West, favorably wet weather in California is benefiting pastures, winter grains, and newly planted summer crops, as well as easing irrigation requirements and resulting in some high-elevation snow. Much cooler weather accompanies the storminess, but warmth lingers across the Rockies.

On the Plains, a band of showers and thunderstorms stretches from southern Kansas into eastern Oklahoma. Meanwhile, warm weather is returning to the northern High Plains, where today’s highs could approach 80°F.

In the Corn Belt, freeze warnings are in effect this morning. Hard freezes (28°F or below) were noted as far south as Iowa and central portions of Illinois and Indiana. However, the freeze does not appear to pose a major threat to heading winter wheat (31% heading in Missouri and 8% in Illinois by April 8) or newly emerged corn (2% emerged in Illinois). Meanwhile, cool, breezy weather accompanies a few snow showers in the lower Great Lakes region, where producers continue to monitor fruit crops for signs of freeze injury.

In the South, a few showers and thunderstorms—in the vicinity of a warm front—stretch across Arkansas and into central Mississippi. North and east of the warm front, cool, dry weather prevails. However, the Southeast escaped this morning’s freeze that affected areas farther to the north. In part due to worsening drought, several wildfires remain active in the Atlantic Coast States.

Outlook: The storm currently affecting California will move into the nation’s mid-section late in the week before crossing the Midwest and Northeast during the weekend. A second storm will closely follow the first, bringing more unsettled weather to the West and the possibility of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms to the central and southern Plains late in the weekend and early next week. Meanwhile, additional freezes can be expected in parts of the Midwest and Northeast on April 12 and 13, although warmer weather will arrive in those regions during the weekend. Dry weather and a late-week warming trend will prevail in the Southeast. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for April 16-20 calls for above-normal temperatures in much of the East and West, while cooler-than-normal conditions will cover much of the Plains. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation from the Gulf Coast northward into the eastern Corn Belt will contrast with drier-than-normal weather across most of the western half of the U.S.