USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, temperatures remain near record-high levels, especially across the northern half of the region. "On Dec. 29, daily-record highs reached 68°F at Goodland, Kansas, and Imperial, Nebraska," USDA reports.
In the West, USDA says significant precipitation is falling from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. "In contrast, extremely dry weather continues to adversely affect rangeland and pastures in much of California," USDA reports. In addition, the current water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack averages just 2 inches, less than 25% of the late-December normal, says USDA.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says warmer-than-normal weather continues. "Rain is falling across much of the central Corn Belt, while some light snow is falling in the upper Mississippi Valley," USDA reports. Precipitation is especially beneficial in the upper Midwest, where drought has gradually developed in recent months, USDA explains.
In the South, temperatures are rebounding to above-normal levels, according to USDA. "In recent weeks, a drying trend has developed in the southern Atlantic region, where pastures and winter grains would benefit from a soaking rain," USDA reports.
USDA's outlook says during the next few days, a pair of storms will traverse the northern U.S. "The second system will intensify over the Great Lakes region, unleashing a blast of cold air early next week across the Midwest and East, and introducing an extended period of lake-effect snow squalls," USDA reports. Mostly dry weather will prevail across the remainder of the nation into the New Year, with temperatures remaining above normal in much of the western and central U.S., USDA explains.