USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the West,
a snow cover continues to protect most Northwestern winter grains from unusually cold conditions. Meanwhile, an approaching Pacific storm system is producing heavy rain and high-elevation snow in southern California and parts of the Southwest.
On the Plains, bitterly cold weather persists across northern portions of the region. Readings below -20 degrees F were reported this morning in parts of
North Dakota and eastern Montana. Winter wheat's protective snow cover remains substantial across much of the northern Plains, but is patchy and shallow on the central High Plains.
In the Corn Belt, very cold weather is maintaining stress on livestock across the upper Midwest, where this morning's lows ranged from 0 to -20 degrees F. In addition, snow covers the majority of the Corn Belt, with depths greater than a half-foot in parts of the Great Lakes region and the upper Mississippi Valley.
In the South, warm weather prevails in advance of a cold front crossing the western slopes of the Appalachians. Rain showers in the vicinity of the front stretch from eastern Kentucky to northern Louisiana.
In thier outlook, USDA says a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain will linger today in the Northeast. Meanwhile, a broad southwesterly flow associated with a Pacific storm will transport moisture into the Four Corners region. As the storm moves inland, heavy precipitation will spread across southern California and parts of the Southwest, then develop from the Midwest into the Northeast. Elsewhere, another storm arriving in the Pacific Northwest will produce heavy precipitation, especially in the Cascades and northern Rockies. Warmth will continue in the Southeast, but another surge of bitterly cold air will arrive by week's end across the Plains and interior Northwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 22-26 calls for colder-than-normal weather across the North and much of the West, while above-normal temperatures will prevail across the Deep South. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation in the West
and from the Mississippi Valley into the Northeast will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions across the southern High Plains and the lower Southeast.