Much colder across the Heartland; wintry moisture expands southward


Much colder across the Heartland; wintry moisture expands southward

Across the Corn Belt, cold but mostly dry weather prevails. Sub-zero temperatures were reported Wednesday morning throughout the upper Midwest. Lingering snow showers are generally confined to areas in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. However, elevated river levels continue in parts of the eastern Corn Belt. Prior to the most recent round of stormy weather, USDA/NASS rated topsoil moisture 76% surplus in Ohio, along with 60% in Indiana and 52% in Michigan.

On the Plains, some of the coldest air of the season is in place. Wednesday morning’s temperatures plunged below -20°F across portions of the northern Plains, while sub-zero readings were reported as far south as eastern Colorado and northern and western Kansas. Some light snow is falling on the central High Plains, while wintry precipitation—mostly sleet and freezing rain—is causing significant travel disruptions in parts of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. Prior to this storm, topsoil moisture was rated more than three-quarters very short to short in Texas (79%) and Oklahoma (78%).

In the South, a band of locally heavy rain stretches from the southern Appalachians to the middle Atlantic Coast. Some flooding is occurring early Wednesday in the Tennessee Valley and environs. Meanwhile, unusual warmth lingers across the lower Southeast, where Wednesday’s high temperatures across Florida’s peninsula will exceed 80°F. In contrast, cold air settling across the mid-South, including much of Arkansas, is setting the stage for an upcoming, late-winter storm.

In the West, a storm system crossing the Four Corners States is producing light to moderately heavy snow showers. Meanwhile, a variety of Frost and Freeze Warnings were in effect early Wednesday in California, extending as far south as the San Joaquin Valley. Bitterly cold air has overspread the northern Rockies, where low temperatures locally fell below -20°F.