USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, a period of mild, dry weather follows the recent storminess that deposited beneficial moisture for rangeland, pastures and winter wheat from Nebraska southward. Across the northern Plains, mild weather is eroding a previously expansive snow cover. In Billings, Mont., the current snow depth of 4 inches is down from peaks of 20 inches on Dec. 16 and 10 inches on Jan. 11.
In the West, USDA states widespread rain and snow showers are moving farther inland. Some of the heaviest precipitation is falling across California and the Intermountain West. Since the beginning of the water year, on Oct. 1, 2016, near-or above-normal precipitation has occurred in nearly every watershed in the western U.S.
Satellite image with enhanced low cl oud - top and ground temperatures for 6:45 a .m. EST (NOAA)
In the Corn Belt , mild but foggy weather prevails. Rain showers are spreading northward across the central Corn Belt, including the middle Mississippi Valley, maintaining muddy conditions.
In the South, locally heavy showers persist from the western Gulf Coast region to the Mississippi Delta. Today’s high temperatures will again approach 80°F across the lower Southeast. Meanwhile, rain is still needed across Florida’s peninsula, where producers continue to irrigate citrus, strawberries and vegetables, USDA notes.
In its five-day outlook through Jan. 23, USDA says the latest Pacific storm train will remain active, with significant weather systems expected to reach the West Coast on Jan. 20 and 22. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 4 to 10 inches in coastal and mountain sections of California and 2 to 5 inches in parts of the Southwest. Very heavy snow will fall from the Sierra Nevada into higher elevations of the Four Corners States. The Pacific storms will generally drift eastward, resulting in periods of heavy rain in the Southeast. In fact, 5-day totals of 2 to 6 inches — all rain — can be expected from the central Gulf Coast region into the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, little or no precipitation should occur into early next week across the Great Plains. Elsewhere, generally cool weather in the West will contrast with above-normal temperatures from the Plains to the East Coast, USDA states."