All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce
Unsettled conditions across the eastern half of the nation contrasted with generally warm, dry weather from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. Weekly temperatures averaged more than 10° F above normal across parts of the Intermountain West.
In contrast, frigid conditions prevailed across the far upper Midwest, including eastern North Dakota, where weekly temperatures averaged at least 10-15° F below normal. In the West, mid-March warmth caused some premature melting of high-elevation snow packs. As a result, spring and summer runoff forecasts remained mostly unfavorable from California to the central and southern Rockies. However, the Western warmth also favored fieldwork. Any significant Western precipitation was confined to the northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.
Meanwhile, mostly dry weather returned to the Plains, following several weeks of beneficial precipitation. On the central and southern Plains, several days of warmth contributed to some early-season winter wheat development. Farther east, weekly precipitation totals of an inch or greater were common from the Mississippi Valley to the Appalachians.
Continuing a recent trend, however, showers mostly bypassed Florida’s peninsula, where growers continued to irrigate citrus and other crops. Unlike last year, when record-setting March warmth covered the majority of the nation, rain and snow accompanied generally cool conditions in the Midwest. An extensive snow cover persisted through week’s end across the northern Corn Belt, although melting occurred farther south.