The 6-10 day precipitation outlook
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Across the Corn Belt, mild air is replacing previously cold conditions. Snow has largely melted across the Ohio Valley and the lower Great Lakes region, but an extensive snow cover persists across the upper Midwest. Early Monday, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, reported a snow depth of 6 inches. Late-season corn and soybean harvests have not advanced much in recent weeks amid muddy or snow-covered fields.

On the Plains, unusual warmth continues, despite an increase in cloudiness. On Sunday, high temperatures topped 70° as far north as northwestern Kansas; similar warmth can be expected Monday. Lingering snow cover is largely limited to the Dakotas, where Grand Forks, North Dakota, is reporting a current depth of 9 inches.

In the South, a slow-moving storm system is producing heavy rain in the southern Atlantic States and parts of the Tennessee Valley. Flooding remains a threat in parts of Georgia and South Carolina, and some beachfront locations are experiencing heavy surf and coastal erosion. Farther west, cool, breezy weather covers the lower Mississippi Valley.

In the West, mostly cloudy weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm system. Heavy rain and high-elevation snow showers are overspreading southern California, leading to local flooding and travel disruptions. Meanwhile in the Pacific Northwest, scattered showers linger in the wake of last week’s heavy precipitation. However, snowpack remains less than 50% of the late-December average in parts of the Cascades.

A mild weather pattern will remain in place for the remainder of the week, especially across the central and eastern U.S. In fact, daily maximum temperatures will be more than 20° above normal across parts of the central and southern Plains and the Midwest, with mid-week (Christmas Day) readings approaching the 70-degree mark as far north as the middle Mississippi Valley. In contrast, cooler air will overspread the West and eventually reach parts of the nation’s mid-section. Meanwhile, Southeastern rainfall will end later Monday or early Tuesday, followed by the return of warm, dry weather. The focus for significant precipitation will shift to the West, where 5-day totals could reach 1 to 2 inches or more from southern California to the southern Rockies. Only light precipitation will fall, however, in the Northwest. At week’s end, a storm system will emerge from the Southwest, delivering rain or snow to the central and southern Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of warmer-than-normal weather along the Canadian border and from the Plains to the East Coast. Below-normal temperatures should be limited to areas from California to the central and southern Rockies. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions across most of the country will contrast with near- or below-normal precipitation in much of the West.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."