USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, unusual warmth follows last week's bitterly cold conditions. "Today's high temperatures could reach 70°F or higher as far north as the central High Plains," USDA reports. The combination of warmth and drought is maintaining stress on winter wheat across the southern High Plains, according to USDA.
In the West, USDA says mild, mostly dry weather accompanies an increase in cloudiness. "By Dec. 15, Arizona's cotton harvest was 85% complete, equal to the five-year average," USDA continues.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says mild air is overspreading areas from the Mississippi River westward, melting snow and easing livestock stress. "However, chilly conditions persist across the eastern Corn Belt," USDA adds.
In the South, USDA reports warmer air is arriving from the Mississippi Delta westward. "However, cool conditions linger in the Southeast. Dry weather throughout the region favors late-season fieldwork," USDA explains.
In its outlook, USDA says disorganized storminess currently arriving in the West will become more cohesive from Texas to New England during the weekend. "As the storm develops, snow will gradually spread southward through high-elevation areas of the West, reaching the southern Rockies by Friday," USDA continues. Another surge of Pacific storminess will lead to some additional precipitation in the Northwest on Friday, USDA explains. "Toward week's end, significant precipitation will erupt across the southeastern Plains and Mid-South before spreading northeastward," USDA reports. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 2 to 5 inches from northern Texas to Maine, with some snow, sleet, and freezing rain expected along the northwestern edge of the precipitation shield, according to USDA. "Cold air will trail the storm, particularly across the Plains and Midwest, but the duration and intensity of the chill will be much less severe than the early-December cold wave," USDA elaborates.