USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, mild, dry weather prevails, except for patches of snow in the Dakotas. "Across the central and southern Plains, drought-stressed winter wheat is benefiting from recent topsoil moisture improvements," USDA adds.
In the West, USDA reports showery, unsettled weather prevails in western sections of Washington and Oregon. In addition, some light precipitation is breaking out in southern California and the Great Basin, USDA adds. "Meanwhile, cooler air continues to overspread the entire region. In Arizona, 85% of the cotton had been harvested by Dec. 16," USDA elaborates.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says mild, dry weather prevails, except for a few areas of snow west of the Mississippi River and some lingering rain in the lower Great Lakes region. "The upper Midwest still has some snow on the ground; current depths include 2 inches in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and an inch in Minneapolis, Minnesota," USDA explains.
In the South, USDA says dry weather prevails in the wake of a departing cold front. "Southeastern pastures and winter grains are benefiting from recent soil moisture improvements," USDA adds. In Florida, topsoil moisture was rated 50% very short to short on Dec. 16, an improvement from 61% the previous week, according to USDA.
In its outlook, USDA says colder air will gradually overspread the western and central U.S., with most areas west of the Mississippi River experiencing below-normal temperatures by Thursday. "By week’s end, temperatures will quickly rebound across the nation’s mid-section," USDA adds. Early next week, USDA reports sharply colder air will once again settle across the western and central U.S. "The series of storms responsible for the rapid temperature swings will maintain unsettled conditions across much of the nation," USDA adds. Five-day precipitation totals will reach 1 to 2 inches in parts of the Midwest and 2 to 4 inches in the Northeast, according to USDA. "Portions of the Pacific Northwest could receive 4 to 8 inches," USDA continues. In addition, significant high-elevation snow can be expected in parts of the Southwest later today and in the Northwest during the next several days, USDA adds. "On Dec. 19-20, snow will spread from the Central Plains into the western Corn Belt and portions of the Great Lakes region," according to USDA.