A cold front moving across the eastern half of the country last week brought showers and thunderstorms and left record-breaking cold temperatures in its wake. Meanwhile, dry conditions and warmer than normal temperatures continued in the West with many locations setting daily record high temperatures. The overall effect was a general deterioration of conditions across the Lower 48 as moisture deficits continued to build in the West and in locations in the eastern half of the country that missed out on the heaviest rainfall. Improvements were minimal and limited to parts of the Midwest and Southern Plains.
The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center forecast for the next 5 days (April 8 through the 12) forecasts heavy rain and the potential for thunderstorms for the central U.S. As the storm system pushes eastward, chances increase for heavy rain and thunderstorms across the Upper Midwest, south-central, and southeastern U.S. In the Northwest, a storm moving in from the Pacific will bring colder than normal temperatures with snow likely falling in the Cascades and Northern Rockies and rain at lower elevations. In the Southwest and southern High Plains, warm, dry weather combined with gusty winds is expected to persist, leading to the potential continuation of dangerous fire weather conditions. Moving into next week, the Climate Prediction Center six- to 10-day outlook (valid April 12 through April 16) favors above normal temperatures across the West, Northeast and Southeast, with the largest probabilities centered over the Great Basin and New England. Below normal temperatures are most likely across the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley and Alaska. The greatest probabilities of above normal precipitation are across the Southern Plains, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
The most notable weather in the Midwest last week was the development of subfreezing temperatures. Locations in central Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois and Kentucky set daily low records. For the most part, precipitation that fell generally missed the drought areas in the northern part of the region. The cooler than normal temperatures generally kept conditions from deteriorating despite drier than normal weather. Changes to this week’s map include an expansion of moderate drought (D1) in northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin in response to rainfall shortages of about 2 to 5 inches over the last 90 days and declining soil moisture.