USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, unusually warm weather prevails. "Today’s high temperatures will exceed 60°F as far north as western South Dakota," USDA reports. Warm, dry, breezy weather across the nation’s mid-section remains a concern with respect to the health and dormancy of the winter wheat crop, according to USDA.
In the West, USDA says isolated rain and snow showers are confined to the northern Rockies and northern Intermountain region. "Drought continues to develop and expand, especially from northern and central California to the western slopes of the central Rockies," USDA reports. For the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack to reach a "normal" level, precipitation would need to average more than 2½ inches per week during the remaining 9 weeks of the 2011-12 wet season, according to USDA.
In the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather prevails, except for snow showers in the upper Great Lakes region, according to USDA. "Generally minor lowland flooding persists in a few river basins across the eastern Corn Belt," USDA reports.
In the South, USDA says drought continues to adversely affect cool-season pastures in several areas, including the western Gulf Coast region and the lower Southeast. "In addition, much of the South is experiencing an enhanced risk of wildfire activity," USDA explains.
In its outlook, USDA says cooler air will gradually invade the West, with below-normal temperatures shifting to the south-central U.S. by week’s end. "In contrast, above-normal temperatures will prevail in most areas from the northern Plains into the Midwest and East," USDA adds. For much of the week, precipitation will be confined to southern Texas and the nation’s northern tier, USDA explains. "However, mid-week rain showers will affect the Southeast, followed by more significant precipitation late in the week across the south-central U.S.," USDA reports.