Windy, sharply colder air builds across the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, sharply colder weather is surging southeastward behind a strong cold front, with wind-driven snow still falling across the northern half of the region. Many western and northern crop areas are encased in a moderate to deep snowpack, while the Ohio Valley is devoid of a protective snow cover.
On the Plains, dry weather prevails, with bitter cold on the northern Plains contrasting with lingering warmth over the southern Plains. Temperatures Wednesday morning have plunged as low as -20°F in Montana, a 30-degree drop from the same time on Tuesday; however, there is sufficient snow cover to prevent widespread freeze damage to dormant winter wheat.
In the South, dry but warmer weather has overspread the region, favoring seasonal fieldwork. Recent rain has eased drought over the interior Southeast, though widespread short-term drought persists across the Carolinas, southern Virginia, and from the northern Delta, westward.
In the West, rain and snow persist from the Pacific Northwest into the northern Rockies, sustaining favorable snowpacks and improving reservoirs. In contrast, dry, warm conditions prevail from California into the Four Corners. Despite the favorable start to the 2021-22 Water Year, nearly 90 percent of the region remained mired in varying degrees of drought.