USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, mild air continues to expand across the region. "As a result, residual snow cover is melting across the central and southern High Plains," USDA continues. On the northern Plains, USDA says winter wheat is exposed to potential weather extremes and would benefit from an increase in precipitation.
In the West, a few rain and snow showers continue from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, but unfavorably dry conditions persist in California and the Great Basin.
In the Corn Belt, a few rain and snow showers dot the Great Lakes region, while mild, dry weather prevails elsewhere, according to USDA. "The warmest weather, relative to normal, continues across the western Corn Belt, where drought is gradually expanding and intensifying," USDA explains.
In the South, USDA says dry weather accompanies a gradual warming trend. "Cloudiness prevented this morning's temperatures from falling as low as expected in the southern Atlantic States," USDA reports.
USDA's outlook says another storm system will reach the Pacific Northwest on Thursday night and Friday, resulting in additional precipitation totaling 2 to 5 inches. "The northern Rockies could receive up to 2 inches," USDA adds. Precipitation will gradually spread eastward across the nation’s northern tier, with some periods of locally heavy snow possible in the Great Lakes region, according to USDA. "As the New Year begins, a blast of cold air will arrive across the eastern half of the U.S.," USDA says. Some of the coldest air, relative to normal, will affect the Great Lakes and northeastern states, sayd USDA. "Meanwhile, little or no precipitation will fall across the southern half of the nation during the next five days, USDA explains.