The weather across the Midwest this weekend will be a tale of two regimes with warmth and dry conditions over the northern Plains and chill with flooding and other concerns farther to the east.
Record-challenging warmth will extend across parts of Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas this weekend. Temperatures are forecast to reach the 50s, 60s and even the 70s in some locations.
Cities that could set new record highs for the date into early next week include Minneapolis; Rapid City, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Mild air from the Pacific that moved in this past week will hold on through Sunday. Sunshine will push AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperatures several degrees higher than the actual temperature during the midday and afternoon hours.
Despite the warmth, limited snowfall from this winter will translate to a low risk of river flooding over the upper Mississippi, Red and Missouri rivers moving forward this spring and perhaps drought conditions later. However, there is an immediate concern this weekend.
According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, "The combination of dormant grassland, a breeze, sunshine and warmth will create an elevated risk of brush fires through the weekend over portions of the Plains and Upper Midwest."
Enough of a mix of Pacific air and sunshine will allow temperatures to climb to above-average levels for the middle of March from Wisconsin to Illinois and Missouri, including around Chicago and St. Louis.
Farther east, temperatures will transition to seasonable and even chilly in some cases this weekend.
In contrast to the dry conditions over the Plains, flooding issues will be a concern farther to the east.
A storm swinging up from the Southern states will depart the middle Mississippi and Ohio valleys early on this weekend, but problems may linger in its wake.
Runoff from that rain and prior melting snow from the storm will lead to new concerns of flooding ranging from small streams to the Ohio River itself. Ice flows along some streams will complicate the problem in the Ohio Basin and along waterways that drain into the Great Lakes.
As the storm progresses through the Northeast states this weekend, clearing will follow the rain in the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes for Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Where the sky clears and winds diminish Saturday night, locally dense fog could form in the Ohio Valley states.
Chilly air will circulate southward around the departing storm and could be noticeable for cities such as Detroit and Cleveland by Sunday. Colder air can lead to rain and snow showers around the lower Great Lakes region to the western slopes of the Appalachians.