Cold weather across the Heartland; wintry moisture in the deep South, Southeast


Cold weather across the Heartland; wintry moisture in the deep South, Southeast

Across the Corn Belt, cold, dry weather prevails. Upper Midwestern livestock producers are contending with sub-zero temperatures and an extensive snow cover. Friday morning’s minimum temperatures fell to near -20°F as far south as northern Iowa. Meanwhile, snow cover is lacking across much of the southern and eastern Corn Belt, especially from Missouri to western Ohio, although temperatures are not low enough to pose a threat to uninsulated winter wheat

On the Plains, some wintry precipitation, mainly snow and freezing rain, is falling across eastern Montana and the Dakotas. Milder weather and gusty winds accompany the northern Plains’ precipitation. Elsewhere, cold, dry weather dominates the central and southern Plains. Currently, drought covers more than two-thirds (68%) of the U.S. winter wheat production area, including at least three-quarters of the acreage in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

In the South, a mix of rain and wintry precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) lingers from southern Texas to the coastal Carolinas, leading to local travel disruptions. Overnight temperatures in the winter agricultural region of Deep South Texas were near to slightly above freezing. Farther north, temperatures below 10°F were reported Friday morning on the Ozark Plateau. In contrast, warm, humid conditions linger across southern Florida.

In the West, snow showers are limited to portions of the northern and central Rockies and Intermountain region. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the West, perpetuating a tranquil pattern that has persisted for more than 3 weeks. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack— after peaking around 160% of average in late December—currently is less than 120% of the late-January average.