USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, mild, dry weather prevails, despite an increase in cloudiness. "Rain showers are breaking out across southern Texas, well south of the primary hard red winter wheat belt," USDA reports.
In the West, widespread precipitation (rain and snow) is falling in the Four Corners States in conjunction with a developing storm. Significant precipitation in Arizona and New Mexico is boosting high-elevation snow packs and providing beneficial moisture for drought-stressed rangeland and pastures. Elsewhere, precipitation is mostly confined to the Pacific Northwest, while cooler air is overspreading the entire region.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says dry weather accompanies a warming trend. "Today's high temperatures will approach 60°F in the southern Corn Belt. Some snow remains on the ground, however, in the upper Midwest; current snow depths include 6 inches in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and an inch in Madison, Wisconsin," USDA reports.
In the South, USDA says mild, dry weather favors late-season fieldwork, including soybean harvesting in the southern Atlantic states. "Despite recent precipitation, more rain is needed to reverse the recent trend of drought expansion in the Southeast," USDA adds. On Dec. 9, at least one-fifth of the pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition in several Southeastern States, including North Carolina (27%) and Florida (20%), according to USDA.
In its outlook USDA says a developing storm over the Southwest will cross the Central Plains and the western Corn Belt on Saturday before reaching the upper Great Lakes region on Sunday. "Additional precipitation could exceed an inch in parts of the Southwest, but most of the Central and Southern Plains will receive only light rain," USDA explains. Precipitation should total a half-inch or more in parts of the Midwest, from eastern Nebraska to Michigan, USDA adds. "Heavier rain, locally 1 to 2 inches, will fall across the South and East," USDA adds. Aside from the Southwest, significant snowfall associated with the storm will be confined to areas from the upper Great Lakes region to northern New England, according to USDA. Elsewhere, USDA reports storminess will increase during the weekend and early next week across northern California and the Northwest, where some locations could receive five-day precipitation totals of at least 2 to 4 inches.