Mild weather for early-February for most; more rain breaks-out on parts of the Plains

Across the Corn Belt, record-setting warmth remains in place.  It was the warmest February 1 on record in many Midwestern locations, including Joplin, Missouri (72°F); Lincoln, Nebraska (65°F); Burlington, Iowa (60°F); Rockford, Illinois (55°F); and La Crosse, Wisconsin (52°F).  Navigating rural and farm roads has become easier in recent days, although some areas remain muddy in the wake of recent rainfall and melting snow.  

On the Plains, temperatures have slightly fallen, but remain significantly above normal.  Fargo, North Dakota, reported daily-record maximum temperatures on January 31 and February 1, with respective readings of 52 and 48°F.  The warmth has left minimal snow cover for winter wheat insulation—but has aided early-season lambing and calving operations. 

In the South, mild, dry weather prevails, despite an increase in cloudiness.  Drought-related impacts, such as poor pasture conditions and low pond levels, continue to diminish, although full recovery may take several months.  On January 30, lingering Extreme to Exceptional Drought (D3 to D4) was confined to 15% of Louisiana, 13% of Mississippi, and less than 2% of Tennessee and Texas, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

In the West, a sprawling storm system is producing rain and snow from the Pacific Coast to the Rockies.  However, near- or above-normal temperatures are limiting significant snow accumulations to high-elevation sites.  Despite some light precipitation, a “snow drought” continues in the northern Rockies, where some river basins in western Montana are reporting snow-water equivalencies that are less than one-half of normal for this time of year. 

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