Across the Corn Belt, snow is falling across the upper Great Lakes region, while rain showers stretch from southern Lower Michigan across the middle Mississippi Valley. In areas of the Midwest that had been trending dry, recent and ongoing precipitation is helping to replenish soil moisture.
On the Plains, drier weather follows recent snowfall. Some of the heaviest snow—which benefited winter wheat—fell on the northern and central Plains, where daily-record totals for December 28 were reported in locations such as Norfolk, Nebraska (7.5 inches), and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (4.6 inches). Early Wednesday, rain is falling across portions of the southern Plains, mainly in central and eastern Oklahoma and northern Texas.
In the South, cool, dry weather prevails in most areas. However, excessive soil moisture remains an impediment to fieldwork in a few spots, especially in Virginia and North Carolina. Early Wednesday, locally heavy showers are arriving across the northwestern fringe of the region, including the Ozark Plateau.
In the West, an approaching storm system is producing rain, snow, and gusty winds in the Pacific Northwest. Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the western U.S.
Snow in the Great Lakes region will end later Wednesday. A new storm system will develop on New Year’s Eve over the western Gulf Coast region, moving northeastward across the middle Mississippi Valley on New Year’s Day and the Great Lakes and Northeastern States by January 2. The new storm will be responsible for another round of snow, starting later today over west-central Texas, with a stripe of new accumulations expected from the southern Plains into the Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, storm-total rainfall of 2 to 5 inches or more could cause flash flooding from eastern Texas into the lower Ohio Valley. In the storm’s wake, the focus for heavy precipitation will shift to the Northwest, where a series of Pacific disturbances will move ashore. However, southern California and the Southwest will experience dry weather during the next 5 days.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in southern California and adjacent areas of the Southwest. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal weather along the Atlantic Seaboard. Notably, the outlook favors drought relief in the western U.S.