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Temperatures Records Likely to be Broken

Fox Weather’s Emilee Speck reported Monday that “hundreds of temperature records – record highs and record-warm lows – are expected to fall through midweek, with Monday and Tuesday forecast to be the warmest days across the Plains and Midwest. On Monday, more than 250 million Americans will experience above-average temperatures.”

“According to the FOX Forecast Center, cities across the Plains and Midwest could experience their warmest February day ever recorded on Monday or Tuesday,” she wrote.

National high temperature forecast for Feb. 26. Courtesy of the National Weather Service.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Weather Highlights for Feb. 26, some temperature records were even broken this past weekend. The highlights reported that “already on Sunday, daily-record highs (for the 25th) included 81°F in Chanute, Kansas, and 75°F in McCook, Nebraska.”

The report also said that “on Sunday, February 25, as the Midwestern warmth arrived, daily-record high temperatures surged to 76°F in St. Joseph, Missouri, and 57°F in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.”

The warmth could be “could be the final nail in the coffin of a winter like no other,” CNN Meteorologist Mary Gilbert reported last week. “Unseasonable warmth, missing snow and disappearing ice have blurred the line between winter and spring for a large portion of the US. Nowhere has this been more the case than in the central and eastern US. Despite a brief but significant outbreak of Arctic air in mid-January and a few chilly days last week, mild conditions have been the norm.”

“Conditions are so unusual in the Midwest, with record low ice extent on the Great Lakes and bare ground where snow cover would normally be, that this winter is being referred to as the ‘Lost Winter,'” Axios’ Andrew Freedman reported.

“On Tuesday, all-time February record highs are possible for Springfield, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin,” Speck reported. “In St. Louis, a high in the lower 80s is forecast on Tuesday. If temperatures hit 85, it will be an all-time record for St. Louis in February. However, by Wednesday morning, the low is expected to drop to around 30 degrees.”

Warmth Could Bring Storms

While the warmth is welcome news for those who want to get outside, it could also bring severe weather, as Gilbert reported 

“Severe thunderstorms rumble to life Tuesday as a large portion of the US is strapped into a temperature roller coaster with notable rises and falls through the weekend,” she wrote. “These kinds of storms – which can generate tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds – are possible at any point in the year if the atmospheric conditions are right. But they typically become more frequent starting in the spring – May to July in the same parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes at risk Tuesday – as warmer temperatures take hold.”

Late Week Cold

While the week is beginning hot, Speck reports that, “late in the week, cooler temperatures will return as a cold front carrying the cross-country storm will knock down temperatures. This front will bring a wild temperature swing for millions.”

“During the second half of the week, temperatures will transition from 20-30 degrees above average to 10-20 degrees below average, the FOX Forecast Center said,” according to Speck. “This temperature swing will also come with howling winds. In portions of the northern tier, feels-like temperatures could dip below zero by Wednesday.”

Ryan Hanrahan is the farm policy news editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism).

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