Weather report: Mild conditions return to the Plains

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In the West, freeze warnings are in effect again across parts of the San Joaquin Valley, as well as the Desert Southwest, although the most significant portion of the cold wave has already occurred. In addition, the current cold snap has been less severe than a similarly timed outbreak in mid-January 2007. Elsewhere in the West, chilly, dry conditions prevail.

On the Plains, mild weather is returning. Mid-winter warmth is especially notable on the northern High Plains, where winter wheat’s protective snow cover is again eroding under a dry, windy regime.

In the Corn Belt, precipitation (rain and freezing rain) is gradually ending in the middle Ohio Valley. However, some lowland flooding persists, mainly in the lower Ohio Valley. Mild weather has temporarily returned to the Midwest, but Arctic air is lurking nearby, across central Canada.

In the South, a sharp temperature gradient exists, with very warm weather in the southern Atlantic States contrasting with cool conditions west of the Appalachians. Pockets of freezing rain persist in the Mississippi Delta and environs, while a chilly rain is falling from the central Gulf Coast into the southern Mid-Atlantic States. Persistent rainfall in recent days has led to pockets of lowland flooding from the central Gulf Coast region into the southern Appalachians. In stark contrast, heavy irrigation demands continue in Florida, where topsoil moisture was rated 46% very short to short on January 13.

Outlook: A sustained period of wet weather across parts of the South will end by Friday, following an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain in some locations. However, little or no rain will fall across Florida’s peninsula. Meanwhile, bitterly cold air will arrive on January 20-21 in the Midwest and Northeast. In contrast, temperatures will gradually moderate to near- or above-normal levels in the West, while unusual warmth will expand across the High Plains by early next week. Most of the U.S. will experience dry weather during the next several days, although some snow will fall from the northern Plains to New England. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for January 21-25 calls for colder-than-normal conditions across the eastern half of the U.S., while near- to above-normal temperatures can be expected from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation nearly nationwide will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather—in the form of snow squalls—in the Great Lakes region.



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