Mild, largely dry mid-winter weather covers the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, mild, dry conditions are spreading eastward.  Tuesday’s high temperatures will top 65°F in the southwestern Corn Belt, including parts of Missouri and Nebraska.  The renewed warm weather is quickly eroding a patchy snow cover that had developed last week.  Still, much of the upper Midwest is experiencing a “snow drought,” with season-to-date totals less than a foot—less than one-quarter of normal—being reported in locations such as Fargo, North Dakota (8.5 inches), and Sisseton, South Dakota (4.2 inches).  

On the Plains, another round of spring-like warmth will push Tuesday’s high temperatures to 70°F or higher as far north as southern Nebraska.  Meanwhile, much of western, central, and southern Texas will experience high temperatures above 80°F.  The warm, dry weather is promoting pre-planting fieldwork across the central and southern Plains.  However, the warmth is also causing small grains to prematurely lose winter hardiness. 

In the South, lingering cool weather is resulting in frost and light freezes as far south as northern Florida.  Meanwhile, warmth is returning across the western Gulf Coast region.  Despite the recent or ongoing cool weather, some unusually early growth of pastures and winter grains has occurred, mainly north of the Gulf Coast region. 

In the West, mild but unsettled weather prevails.  In fact, rain and snow showers dot most areas west of the Rockies, including the Pacific Coast States and the Intermountain West.  Early Tuesday, some of the heaviest rain is falling across southern California, where flash flooding is a threat primarily on southwest-facing slopes.  Mostly minor flooding is occurring in parts of California’s Sacramento Valley and environs.   

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