Very cold weather dominates the Heartland


Very cold weather dominates the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, a cold, mostly dry weather pattern is in place. Any snow is limited to areas downwind of the Great Lakes. Thursday morning’s low temperatures plummeted below 0°F as far south as northern Missouri, while readings below -20°F were noted across much of eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota. In some areas, breezy conditions are compounding the effects of bitterly cold weather, maintaining stress on livestock.

On the Plains, cold, dry weather prevails, aside from some light snow across Texas’ northern panhandle and environs. Thursday morning’s low temperatures fell to 0°F or below throughout the northern half of the Plains, with readings below -20°F broadly observed in North Dakota. Across the northern High Plains, where milder, downslope winds are just starting to arrive, winter wheat’s protective snow cover is patchy and shallow, at best.

In the South, a band of precipitation—mostly rain—stretches from the mid-Atlantic to the central Gulf Coast. However, precipitation has changed to light snow in a few areas, including parts of the Tennessee Valley. Meanwhile, a separate area of precipitation is developing across southern Texas, where sharply colder air is arriving.

In the West, showers extend inland from the Pacific Northwest into northwestern Montana. The remainder of the West is experiencing mild, dry weather—and has not yet received meaningful January precipitation. For example, the water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack—currently 16 inches—has increased less than an inch in the last 3 weeks.