Across the Corn Belt, mild weather prevails. Precipitation is confined to the upper Great Lakes region, where some light snow is falling. Many fields and feedlots are muddy in the wake of recent storminess, while a thick blanket of snow remains on the ground across the far upper Midwest, including large sections of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.
On the Plains, mild, mostly dry weather prevails, despite widespread cloudiness. A substantial snow cover remains in place across much of the Dakotas, as well as portions of neighboring states. Farther south, winter grains from Kansas southward continue to benefit from the recent boost in topsoil moisture, primarily from a late-December storm system.
In the South, mild, rainy weather is occurring in most areas. Showers have become heavy is some locations, including parts of the Mississippi Delta and the Tennessee Valley, where flooding is possible. Rain has not yet arrived, however, along the southern Atlantic Coast.
In the West, widely scattered rain and snow showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. A few showers are also occurring in New Mexico. Elsewhere, dry weather favors winter fieldwork in California, but locally dense fog has developed again Thursday morning in parts of the Central Valley.
A storm system will affect parts of the South, East, and Midwest into the weekend. Storm-total rainfall should reach 2 to 4 inches from the lower Mississippi Valley to the central and southern Appalachians. By Saturday and early Sunday, accumulating snow could fall from the lower Great Lakes region into parts of New England. Subsequently, a pair of disturbances will cross the northern U.S., generating periods of generally light precipitation. The most significant precipitation should fall in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Modest surges of cold air will trail the disturbances, with below-normal temperatures becoming established across the northern Plains and Midwest by early next week. Elsewhere, little or no precipitation will fall during the next 5 days from central and southern California to the central and southern Plains.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across much of the eastern half of the country, while colder-than-normal conditions will dominate the West. Elsewhere, much of the nation should experience near- or above-normal precipitation, while drier-than-normal weather will be limited to southern California and the Desert Southwest.