USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, this morning’s low temperatures dipped to near 0°F as far south as northwestern Kansas. Readings below -20°F were reported in parts of North Dakota and Montana. A band of light snow is spreading across Nebraska and environs, providing winter wheat with some protection from the cold weather. Snow from earlier storms covers much of Montana and the Dakotas.
In the West, a heavy precipitation event is underway across central California, including important snowpack and watershed areas of the Sierra Nevada. A broader area of rain and snow extends inland across the northern Great Basin and the Intermountain West. Temperatures remain in stark contrast, ranging from much below normal in the Northwest to above normal in the Southwest.
Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top and ground temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)
In the Corn Belt, USDA says cold air continues to arrive on gusty, northwesterly winds. Today’s low temperatures plunged below 0°F in the upper Mississippi Valley, accompanied by breezy conditions and low wind-chill temperatures.
In the South, lingering showers are confined to Florida’s peninsula, where more rain is needed. Statewide, Florida’s topsoil moisture was 48% very short to short on Jan. 1, while pastures were rated 32% very poor to poor. Farther west, however, recent downpours have eradicated drought in the central Gulf Coast region.
In its five-day outlook through Jan. 8, USDA says moisture-laden Pacific storms will push ashore across northern and central California on Jan. 4-5 and 7-9, leading to extremely heavy precipitation (locally 4 to 16 inches), possible flooding, and high-elevation snow. Significant precipitation will also extend eastward across the northern Great Basin and much of the Inter-mountain West. A limited amount of precipitation (snow) will fall east of the Rockies, spreading from the central Plains today to the Mid-Atlantic States by Thursday night. By week’s end, some additional rain and snow may fall across the Southeast. Farther north, snow squalls will affect areas downwind of the Great Lakes. By Saturday, much of the U.S. — except for the Desert Southwest and southern Florida — will be engulfed by cold air.