The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued its extended weather forecasts. The outlook for January calls for below-normal temps in Minnesota and the Dakotas, with above-normal temps expected in western Texas and the Southwest. Above-normal precip is expected in the Upper Midwest, including northern Iowa, as well as areas of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest, while below-normal precip is expected in the Southwest. Elsewhere, chances are equal for normal, below- or above-normal temps or precip.
In their 90-day outlook, the area of above-normal temps is expected to cover nearly the entire South, including areas of Kansas southward. Meanwhile, the area of below-normal temps shrinks. Above-normal precip is expected in an area of the Pacific northwest and much of the eastern Corn Belt, with below-normal precip expected in western Kansas, western Oklahoma, western Texas and the Southwest. Across the western Corn Belt, equal chances of normal, below- or above-normal temps or precip are expected.
In its Seasonal Drought Outlook, the CPC says further drought improvement is expected in the eastern Corn Belt, as well as in eastern Iowa, but drought will persist across much of the area already impacted by drought west of the Mississippi River. This includes the entire Plains area, western Iowa and Minnesota and the four-corners states area.
"During the previous four weeks, a series of storms spread above-average precipitation across the Northwest, northern Rockies and northern California, while dry conditions exacerbated drought in the southern Plains and southern Atlantic states," states CPC. "A very active weather pattern is expected to develop during the upcoming two weeks, beginning with heavy snows from the central Plains through the Great Lakes region. Wet weather is anticipated across the eastern half of the U.S., bringing a potential for drought reduction along the Mississippi River Valley and the interior Southeast. A continued wet pattern in the northern Rockies may also bring some drought relief, but a persistently dry outlook for the southern high Plains is expected to exacerbate long standing drought conditions in western Texas and southern New Mexico. General persistence of extreme to exceptional drought is expected across the Plains states during the dry season."
Check the following links for maps of forecasts: