The 6-10 day temperature outlook
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Across the Corn Belt, some light snow is falling east of the Mississippi River, mainly from Illinois to Ohio. Meanwhile, cold, dry weather prevails across the upper Midwest, where a general lack of snow cover has allowed producers to keep working outside on off-season chores and farm maintenance activities well into the winter season. From December 1-15, snowfall totaled just 0.2 inch in Fargo, North Dakota, and a trace in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

On the Plains, snow from Tuesday’s storm remains on the ground in many areas from Nebraska to Oklahoma, providing winter wheat with beneficial moisture and insulation. Official December 15 snowfall amounts included 3.2 inches in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and 2.0 inches in Dodge City, Kansas. In the storm’s wake, Wednesday morning’s low temperatures fell below 10° as far south as northwestern Oklahoma. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather covers the northern Plains.

In the South, an early-season winter storm is producing widespread precipitation east of the Mississippi River. Wintry precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) is falling in the southern Appalachians and adjacent foothills, resulting in local travel disruptions. Elsewhere, cool, breezy weather prevails from the Mississippi Delta westward, while warmth lingers across Florida’s peninsula.

In the West, widely scattered rain and snow showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Mild, dry weather covers the remainder of the western U.S. An elevated wildfire threat persists in the coastal mountain ranges of southern California due to dry, breezy conditions. Extremely dry conditions extend into the Southwest, where Wednesday marks the 240th consecutive day (April 21 – December 16) without measurable precipitation in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A storm system currently crossing the Southeast will produce wintry precipitation during Wednesday from the Appalachians into southern New England. Coastal areas of the middle and southern Atlantic States will receive mostly rain. Along the northern Atlantic Coast, snow will linger into Thursday. Meanwhile, disorganized storminess will punch inland Wednesday night and Thursday across the West, delivering beneficial precipitation as far south as central California and the Great Basin. Late in the week, dry weather will return across California and the Great Basin, while significant precipitation will continue in the Northwest. Five-day precipitations totals will reach 5 to 10 inches or more in parts of the Pacific Northwest, from the Cascades westward. In contrast, little or no precipitation will fall during the next 5 days in southern California, the Desert Southwest, and the Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of warmer-than-normal weather nationwide, except for near-normal temperatures across the lower Southeast. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions in the East and portions of the Great Lakes region should contrast with near- or below-normal precipitation across the remainder of the country.

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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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