Weather report: Bitterly cold on the northern Plains

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In the West, mild weather accompanies scattered rain and snow showers. Currently, the most significant precipitation is falling in southern California and the Pacific Northwest. Until recently, much of the region has been dry since late December, increasing concerns about summer water supplies—especially in the Great Basin and the Southwest.

On the Plains, bitterly cold conditions in North Dakota and eastern South Dakota contrasts with mild, dry weather farther south and west. Hard red winter wheat remains largely exposed to potential weather extremes.

In the Corn Belt, the latest surge of Arctic air is spilling across the upper Midwest, maintaining livestock stress and resulting in blowing snow and dangerously low wind chills. In advance of the cold blast, light snow is blanketing much of the eastern Corn Belt.

In the South, freezing rain is causing travel disruptions in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as neighboring areas in the southern Appalachians. In contrast, warm, dry weather prevails across the Deep South, from Texas to Florida. Very dry conditions persist in Florida, where soil moisture was rated 51% very short to short on January 20, while pastures were rated 32% very poor to poor.

Outlook: For the remainder of today, snow will spread into the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, while freezing rain will affect parts of the interior Southeast. Meanwhile, late-week rain and snow showers will fall across much of the West. During the weekend, generally light rain will affect the central and southern Plains, with some locally heavier amounts possible on the east-central Plains. Early next week, rain and freezing rain can be expected in the Midwest, as moisture interacts with residual cold air. In general, markedly milder air will overspread the Midwest and Northeast during the first half of next week, while colder weather will return to the West. Arctic air will return to the northern Plains and upper Midwest by January 29. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for January 30 – February 3 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in California and southern portions of Texas and Florida. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across the northern and eastern U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from the Pacific Coast to the central and southern High Plains.



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