The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlooks for December through February provide little guidance for precip and temps across the Corn Belt. The extended outlook calls for "equal chances" of normal, below- or above-normal temps and precip during the period across the Corn Belt. But for the Southern Plains, the outlook for above-normal temps and below-normal precip for western Texas raises concerns about the well-entrenched drought area.
CPC Outlooks for December:
CPC Outlooks for December-February:
As a result of recent weather and the extended forecast, the CPC says drought will persist across much of the central Corn Belt, as well as in key HRW wheat areas of the Central and Southern Plains. The good news is winter wheat will enter dormancy in much better shape than last year, but this forecast signals drought will not improve through the winter months -- further raising spring moisture needs.
Related link: Pro Farmer weighted Crop Condition Index for HRW and SRW wheat.
The drought outlook notes that while some additional near-term drought improvement is possible for eastern Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley, the extended outlook isn't as friendly toward moisture. "In the Midwest, expected short-term dryness may increase D1 (abnormal dryness) in northeastern Missouri/western Illinois before the ground freezes. Persistence is a good bet in the Plains as the winter months are climatologically dry."