USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility on the Plains, temperatures are rebounding to near- or above-normal levels across the southern half of the region, melting residual snow. "Meanwhile, unusually warm, breezy conditions prevail on the northern Plains, where today's high temperatures could approach 60°F as far north as Montana," USDA reports.
In the West, USDA says rain and snow showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, but California and the Great Basin remain unfavorably dry. "California's rangeland conditions have begun to deteriorate due to lack of rain, and some supplemental feeding of livestock has been necessary," USDA reports. In Arizona, the cotton harvest was 88% complete by Dec. 25, compared to the five-year average of 94%, USDA reports.
In the Corn Belt, mild, dry conditions persist in the upper Midwest, according to USDA. "In contrast, cold, breezy conditions prevail in the eastern Corn Belt, following Tuesday's rain and snow, although soils have not completely frozen in areas where corn remains standing in the field," USDA reports.
"In the South, cool, dry weather prevails in the wake of recent, drought-easing rainfall," USDA says.
In its outlook, USDA says a pattern change will bring storminess to the nation’s northern tier, while little or no precipitation will fall across the southern two-thirds of the nation. "During the next five days, precipitation could total 2 to 8 inches in the Pacific Northwest and 2 to 4 inches in the northern Rockies," USDA reports. Generally light precipitation will fall from the northern Plains into the Northeast, with some locally heavier amounts in the Great Lakes region, according to USDA. "Much of the U.S. will experience near- or above-normal temperatures through week’s end, but colder air will arrive in the East early next week," USDA says.