All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce
Two storm systems provided additional drought relief in the Corn Belt. The first system produced widespread Midwestern snow, and later became a late-season winter storm from the central Appalachians into southern New England. The second system resulted in some late-week snow across the Upper Midwest, but sparked rain across the remainder of the Corn Belt. Farther west, the late-week storm also produced some precipitation across the nation’s mid-section, especially across the central and southern Plains. The Plains’ recent spate of storms has boosted topsoil moisture and aided rangeland, pastures and winter wheat.
Dry weather finally returned to the lower Southeast, although low temperatures slowed evaporation rates from still-soggy fields. Florida’s winter agricultural belt – which was bypassed by most of February’s heavy rain – remained unfavorably dry and experienced unusually cool weather in early March. In fact, weekly temperatures averaged more than 10°F below normal in the southern Atlantic region, including Florida’s peninsula. In addition, widespread freezes were noted as far south as northern Florida, especially on March 3-4 and 7-8. In contrast, warmer-than-normal weather prevailed in New England and central and southern portions of the Rockies and High Plains.
Elsewhere, widespread but generally light precipitation fell across the West. Some of the highest amounts, locally in excess of 2 in., were noted in northern California and central Arizona. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the average water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack increased to 18 in. (two-thirds of normal) by week’s end, up from 16 in. on March 1.