Temps recovering on the Plains; some beneficial moisture southern sections

Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails.  Thursday morning’s minimum temperatures dipped below 10°F in the upper Great Lakes region, with scattered sub-zero readings.  Early-week upper Midwestern snow, which in North Dakota totaled 3.7 inches in Grand Forks and 2.7 inches in Fargo, remains on the ground.  Most of the remainder of the  Midwest is snow-free.  

On the Plains, temperatures are rapidly rebounding from a brief cold snap.  In fact, Thursday’s high temperatures will approach or reach 60°F as far north as central and eastern Montana.  Meanwhile, clouds and a few rain and snow showers have developed on the southern Plains, mainly across Texas.  On February 25 in Texas, topsoil moisture was rated 32 percent very short to short, while 51% of the state’s rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition.  Earlier this week, several large wildfires, including the 850,000-acre Smokehouse Creek Fire, scorched vast areas of mostly grassland across Texas’ northern panhandle into western Oklahoma, mainly near the Canadian River. 

In the South, scattered rain showers are returning across areas from the Mississippi Delta westward.  Meanwhile, cool, dry, breezy weather prevails in much of the Southeast.  With some fruit crops across the Deep South starting to bloom earlier than normal, producers will be closely monitoring for the potential of harmful spring freezes. 

In the West, storminess stretches from northern California and the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies.  A Blizzard Warning is in effect in the northern and central Sierra Nevada, where storm-total snowfall will locally top 5 feet.  Storm-related impacts, including high winds, extend inland across the Great Basin and Intermountain West.   

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