The mid-week weather map
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Across the Corn Belt, a disturbance is producing some light snow, mainly in the upper Great Lakes region. Elsewhere, cloudy but mild weather favors farm maintenance activities, especially in drier areas of the western Corn Belt.

On the Plains, mild weather prevails. Monday’s high temperatures should reach or exceed 70° in much of Texas, except across the northern panhandle. The snow that fell about a week ago across parts of the central and southern Plains has melted, while the northern Plains remain devoid of snow. Overall conditions are favorable for off-season fieldwork and farm maintenance, but many winter wheat production areas remain unfavorably dry.

In the South, lingering rain showers along the southern Atlantic Coast are yielding to dry weather. Most of the region still has adequate to locally excessive soil moisture, but a few spots have begun to dry out. Among the driest areas over the last few weeks have been Deep South Texas and parts of the northern Mississippi Delta.

In the West, storm systems continue to move ashore along the northern Pacific Coast, but the remainder of the region is experiencing mild, dry weather. Despite last week’s spotty precipitation, drought continues to tighten its grip on a broad area stretching from California to the central and southern Rockies.

storm system currently arriving in the Pacific Northwest will traverse the nation’s northern tier. By mid-week, a significant wind-driven snow event may unfold across the north-central U.S., particularly in the Red River Valley. Starting on December 23, showers and thunderstorms along the storm’s trailing cold front will sweep eastward from the Mississippi Valley, reaching the Atlantic Seaboard on Christmas Eve. In the Northeast, heavy rain falling upon melting snow may result in flash flooding. Sharply cold air and snow showers will trail the front into the Midwest and East; high temperatures on Christmas Day should remain below 20° in portions of the Great Lakes region. By December 26-27, freezes could reach into northern (and possibly central) Florida. In contrast, generally mild weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the central and southern Plains. In addition, dry weather will continue during the next 5 days from southern California to the southern Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and precipitation across much of the country. Cooler-than-normal conditions should be confined to an area stretching from the eastern Gulf Coast region into southern New England, while drier-than-normal weather will be limited to the northern and eastern Corn Belt and the eastern U.S., excluding Maine and the southern tip of Florida.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."

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