A mild and rather wet Midwest pattern ahead

A mild and rather wet Midwest pattern ahead

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather accompanies a gradual warming trend. However, warmer-than-normal weather in the upper Midwest has begun to thaw fields that had previously frozen, limiting any late-season harvest efforts.

On the Plains, mild, dry weather prevails, but cloudiness is increasing. Tuesday’s high temperatures again approached 60º as far north as western Nebraska. The mild weather is especially beneficial with respect to promoting additional development of poorly established winter wheat prior to full dormancy.

In the South, chilly weather lingers across the Atlantic Coast States. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the region, although widespread fog is occurring earlier Tuesday in the western and central Gulf Coast States. Late-season fieldwork delays persist in some areas due to chronically wet conditions. In Florida, for example, the cotton harvest was 82% complete by December 16, compared to 97% on the same date a year ago.

In the West, separate storms are producing precipitation in the southern Rockies and the Northwest, respectively. In the latter region, stormy weather includes heavy snow in the Cascades and northern Rockies, drought-easing rain in valley locations, and high winds in coastal areas.

A pair of Western storms will merge, leading to another round of heavy rain across the eastern U.S. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches or more from the Appalachians to the Atlantic Seaboard, with most of the rain falling on December 20-21. Meanwhile, periods of significant precipitation will continue across the Northwest, with heavy snow expected in the Cascades and the northern Rockies. Most of the remainder of the country will experience mild, dry weather, except for a late-week cool spell—following the heavy rain—in the Southeast.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation nearly nationwide. Warm weather will be most likely in the western and central Gulf Coast States, while drier-than-normal conditions should be limited to the middle and southern Atlantic coastal plain.

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