On the Plains, moderate to severe drought persists from western Nebraska into central Oklahoma. In addition, large temperature swings are increasing stress on poorly established winter grains.
Across the Corn Belt, dry conditions continue over much of the region. Snow still covers most of the Corn Belt, with depths in excess of 20 inches in portions of the Upper Midwest.
In the South, dry weather is favoring fieldwork but worsening drought. For the third time this month, producers in Florida are dealing with a hard freeze, with Tuesday morning’s temperatures dropping into the mid-20s in key strawberry areas east of Tampa and in northern-most citrus areas.
In the West, a brief, much-needed dry spell is coming to an end, with heavy rain and mountain snow spreading across the Pacific Northwest and northern California. Northwestern winter wheat continues to benefit from abundant rain and snowfall since the onset of the climatological wet season (early October).
A large, moisture-laden Pacific storm will push onshore, bringing another round of heavy rain and mountain snow to much of California and the Pacific Northwest. Snow will spread eastward into the Rockies and Four Corners Region, with the storm emerging over the central and northern High Plains by mid-week.
The northern component of this system will track northeast, generating snow on the northern Plains and a mixture of rain and snow in the western Corn Belt and upper Midwest. The southern portion of the system will follow, generating snow across the central Plains during the latter half of the week.
Meanwhile, an influx of Gulf moisture will produce showers in eastern Texas and Delta.
In contrast, high pressure over the Southeast will provide dry, increasingly warm weather over much of the eastern U.S.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures from the central and northern Plains to the East Coast, while abnormally cool conditions prevail over the southwestern quarter of the Nation. Drier-than-normal conditions are anticipated across the central and southern Plains as well as the Northeast, Florida, and central Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation is expected in the Rockies and from the northern Plains into the Delta and Southeast.