USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, dry weather accompanies a gradual warming trend. "In fact, above-normal temperatures have returned to the northern and central High Plains, easing livestock stress," USDA elaborates. On Montana’s high plains, chinook winds have begun to erode winter wheat’s protective snow cover, USDA continues.
In the West, USDA reports citrus producers in the San Joaquin Valley are still contending with a string of freezes that began on Dec. 4, although temperatures have begun to moderate from the peak of the cold wave. "Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the region, except for some rain spreading into southern New Mexico," USDA explains.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold, breezy weather persists. "Snow blankets much of the region, but coverage is patchy from the middle Mississippi Valley into the lower Great Lakes region," USDA reports. Current snow depths include 5 inches in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and 4 inches in Rockford, Illinois, and Dayton, Ohio, USDA elaborates.
In the South, USDA reports cool, breezy weather favors late-season fieldwork. "By Dec. 8 in North Carolina, winter wheat was 93% planted, while harvesting was 92% complete for cotton and 86% complete for soybeans," USDA explains.
In its outlook, USDA says during during the next few days, a storm system will produce widespread precipitation across the eastern half of the U.S. "Snow will develop across the middle Mississippi Valley on Friday and spread into the Northeast during the weekend," USDA continues. Some sleet and freezing rain may also occur, especially from the central Appalachians into the northern Mid-Atlantic states, USDA explains. Meanwhile, USDA reports storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches across the lower Southeast. "The remainder of the U.S. will remain mostly dry, except for some precipitation later today across the southern Rockies and the Northwest," USDA continues. By early next week, above-normal temperatures can be expected from the Pacific Coast to the Plains, but cold conditions will linger in the eastern U.S., according to USDA.