Across the Corn Belt, mild, mostly dry weather prevails. However, a few patches of wintry precipitation—mostly light snow and freezing drizzle—are occurring in the western and central Corn Belt. Most late-season corn and soybean harvest efforts remain stalled by soggy or snow-covered fields. Current upper Midwestern snow depths include 13 inches in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and 8 inches in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
On the Plains, cold weather—accompanied by some snow and wind—covers Montana and North Dakota. Farther south, however, mild, dry weather prevails across the central and southern Plains. Friday’s high temperatures topped 70° as far north as central Texas, where drought is adversely affecting some rangeland, pastures, and winter grains. Drought is also reported in parts of Kansas, western Oklahoma, and southeastern Colorado.
In the South, eastern slopes of the southern Appalachians are experiencing wintry weather, including freezing rain. Elsewhere in the Southeast, rain from Florida to Virginia is disrupting late-season fieldwork but further replenishing soil moisture. Mostly dry weather prevails in the western and central Gulf Coast States, although dense fog is affecting portions of the lower Mississippi Valley and areas along and near the Texas coast.
In the West, showery weather is occurring across the northern half of the region. Currently, some of the heaviest precipitation is spreading across northern California. In the Northwest, precipitation is helping to improve high-elevation snowpack, which remains less than 50% of the mid-December average in numerous river basins. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather favors fieldwork in southern California and the Desert Southwest.
During the weekend, cold air will expand to cover the Midwest, as well as northern and central sections of the Rockies and Plains. Weekend warmth will prevail, however, across the Deep South. Meanwhile, widespread precipitation (mostly rain; locally 1 to 2 inches) will fall in the Atlantic Coast States. Late in the weekend and early next week, precipitation will emerge from the West, resulting in rain in the Southeast and a band of snow from the central Rockies and central Plains into the Northeast.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across much of the western half of the country, while colder-than-normal conditions will prevail in the western Gulf Coast region and from the Mississippi River to the East Coast. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation across Florida’s peninsula and the Far West will contrast with drier-than-normal weather across much of the central and eastern U.S.