USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, record-setting warmth persists, especially across northern areas. "A few wildfires have developed on Montana's High Plains, in part due to warm, windy weather," USDA adds. Farther south, USDA says lingering drought effects in Texas have left 38% of the winter wheat in very poor to poor condition in early January, along with 80% of the state's pastures and rangeland.
In the West, rain and snow showers are confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies, according to USDA. "Farther south, dry weather remains a concern with respect to pasture and rangeland conditions, especially in California," USDA explains. In addition, only meager high-elevation snow packs exist from the Sierra Nevada and the southern Cascades to the western slopes of the central Rockies, reports USDA.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says unusual warmth is expanding eastward. "As a result, cold air is retreating from the eastern Corn Belt, where producers have had a few days to try to harvest any remaining corn," USDA explains.
the South, parts of Florida's peninsula endured a second consecutive freeze, although temperatures were highly variable, according to USDA. "In colder pockets, producers again employed protective measures to help guard against damage to citrus, sugarcane, vegetables, nursery crops, and other temperature-sensitive commodities," USDA explains. Elsewhere, USDA reports warmer weather favors off-season fieldwork activities.
USDA's outlook says residual cold air in the East is being replaced by warmer conditions. "Meanwhile, warmer-than-normal weather will dominate the remainder of the U.S., with record-setting high temperatures continuing into next week across the northern Plains and upper Midwest," USDA says. By early next week, a developing storm will result in a cooling trend across southern portions of the Rockies and Plains, USDA explains. "The storm could result in the development of heavy rain in the western and central Gulf Coast States," USDA reports. Little or no precipitation will fall elsewhere, except for some higher amounts in the Pacific Northwest, according to USDA.