Across the Corn Belt, snow remains on the ground in many northern corn and soybean production areas, hampering late-season harvest efforts. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, is reporting a current snow depth of 5 inches. Dry weather covers much of the Midwest, but light rain is falling early Friday in parts of the Ohio Valley.
On the Plains, dry weather accompanies near-normal temperatures. Across the southern half of the region, patchy drought is adversely affecting some rangeland, pastures, and winter grains. Farther north, snow has largely eroded across Montana and Nebraska but remains on the ground in much of the Dakotas. At daybreak Friday, Grand Forks, North Dakota, was reporting a snow depth of 8 inches
In the South, mild weather prevails. However, widespread showers from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Appalachians are slowing late-season fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton and soybean harvesting. In North Carolina, 86% of the intended winter wheat acreage had been planted by December 1.
In the West, a powerful storm system is slowly approaching the Pacific Coast States. Winds are already increasing along the coast, especially in northern California. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the West, favoring late-autumn fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in Arizona and California.
A sprawling Pacific storm system will move inland across the western U.S. during the weekend. The heaviest precipitation will fall in northern and central California, where flooding may occur in valleys and coastal ranges. Weekend snowfall in the Sierra Nevada could reach 1 to 4 feet, with snow eventually spreading eastward across the northern and central Rockies. High winds will also accompany the Western storm. During the first half of next week, a blast of cold air will engulf many areas east of the Rockies. Starting next Tuesday (December 10), sub-zero temperatures will engulf large sections of the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Widespread precipitation will precede and accompany the surge of cold air, with snow expected across the North and rain likely in the South, East, and lower Midwest. Some of the heaviest rain, locally 1 to 2 inches or more, should fall early next week from the Mississippi Delta into the Northeast.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures in most areas east of the Rockies, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail across Florida’s peninsula and much of the West. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from California to the Four Corners region.