A brief spell of fair weather gets underway on the Plains, western Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, Thursday’s storm produced an impressive stripe of snow from southeastern Nebraska to Michigan; daily-record snowfall totals included 8.8 inches in Lincoln, Nebraska, and 5.6 inches in Des Moines, Iowa.  In the storm’s wake, cold, breezy weather covers the Midwest.  Friday morning’s low temperatures fell to 0°F or below in parts of the upper Midwest, extending as far south as snow-covered areas in southeastern Nebraska.

On the Plains, dry weather accompanies below-normal temperatures, except in Montana, where downslope (Chinook) winds are developing.  Later Friday, expanding westerly winds could help to boost temperatures to 50°F or higher as far north as western South Dakota.  Meanwhile on the central Plains, freshly fallen snow is benefiting winter wheat and boosting topsoil moisture.

In the South, lingering warmth is confined to the Atlantic Coast States.  Across Florida’s peninsula, Friday’s high temperatures will again reach 80°F or higher.  Meanwhile, cool, breezy conditions trail a strong cold front, which has crossed the Appalachians and is approaching the Atlantic Seaboard.  Showers and a few thunderstorms are occurring in the vicinity of the front, which spawned several tornadoes on Thursday in Mississippi.

In the West, a cold, dry pattern remains in place.  Any precipitation is limited to the Pacific Northwest, where light rain and snow showers are occurring.  Among the Western daily-record lows set or tied on February 16 were readings of 32°F in Santa Barbara, California, and 21°F in Safford, Arizona.

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