Across the Corn Belt, cloudy but mild weather prevails. Some light precipitation (rain and snow) is occurring in the western Corn Belt, but dry weather covers the remainder of the Midwest. An extensive but generally shallow snow cover across the northern and western Corn Belt has begun to erode amid a spell of above-normal temperatures.
On the Plains, light precipitation (rain and snow) is falling early Wednesday across eastern sections of Nebraska and the Dakotas. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the nation’s mid-section. Despite recent precipitation, which has benefited winter wheat, soil moisture shortages persist in some areas. At the end of December, USDA/NASS reported that topsoil moisture was rated more than one-half very short to short in several states, including Colorado (77% very short to short), North Dakota (71%), Montana (61%), South Dakota (59%), and Nebraska (56%).
In the South, a few showers are developing west of the Mississippi River. Meanwhile, cool, dry weather covers the Southeast. Scattered frost was noted Wednesday morning as far south as northern Florida, well north of the state’s citrus belt.
In the West, the latest in a series of Pacific storms is producing widespread Northwestern precipitation. Consistent with La Niña, the recent and ongoing storminess has eased Northwestern drought, while significant drought persists across the remainder of the western U.S. In Arizona, 88% of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition at the end of December, according to USDA/NASS.
Active weather will continue for the next several days in the Northwest, with the heaviest precipitation falling from the Pacific Coast to the Cascades. On January 7-8, light snow will fall as far east as the northern High Plains. Meanwhile, dry weather will prevail for the next 5 days across southern California and the Southeast. Farther east, a pair of winter storms will follow a similar path across the South, generating widespread precipitation. Wet snow associated with the first storm may fall in several areas, including the Ozark Plateau and the southern Appalachians. Late in the week, snow may also blanket the southern High Plains. Southern rainfall from the two storms could total 1 to 2 inches or more, except across Florida’s peninsula. Most of the country will continue to experience mild weather, with significantly above-normal temperatures expected for the remainder of the week from the northern and central Plains into the Midwest.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across much of the northern and western U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the South. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather along the southern Atlantic Coast and from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Plains.