USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, dry weather prevails. Overwintering wheat in drought-affected areas, primarily from eastern Colorado into Kansas and Oklahoma, remains in need of moisture to help stabilize a crop that has was stressed by dryness during the establishment period and more recently has been subjected to temperature extremes, USDA elaborates.
In the West, USDA reports cold, stagnant air remains trapped in some Northwestern valleys, but mild, dry weather favors Southwestern fieldwork that had been delayed by recent rainfall. "On Dec. 25, planting of Arizona’s barley crop was just 1% complete, compared to the five-year average of 35%," it details.
In the Corn Belt, USDA says a mix of rain and snow is falling across the lower Great Lakes region. "Breezy, colder air is overspreading the remainder of the Midwest, accompanied by a few snow showers," USDA continues.
In the South, USDA reports showers stretching from the Mid -Atlantic region to the central Gulf Coast are associated with a developing storm system. "The rain is further helping the Southeast recover from a serious autumn drought," USDA adds.
In its outlook through Dec. 26, USDA says a strengthening winter storm will result in heavy precipitation — mostly snow — across the Northeast into Friday, while brisk, cold winds behind the storm enhance snow showers and squalls leeward of the Great Lakes, as far south as the central Appalachians. "Another disturbance and its associated cold front will follow storm, bringing additional weekend snow from the Great Lakes region into the Northeast, starting on New Year’s Eve," the department continues. Farther south, USDA says locally heavy rain will fall in the Southeast both today and during the upcoming holiday weekend, resulting in five-day totals that could reach 2 to 5 inches from the central Gulf Coast to the southern Appalachians. "Farther west, however, mostly dry weather will prevail through the weekend across drought-affected sections of the central and southern Plains," according to USDA. Elsewhere, several disturbances crossing the West will result in widespread but generally light rain and snow showers, USDA continues. Late in the weekend, bitterly cold air will return to the northern Plains and the Northwest, preceded by snow, it adds.