USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, dry weather prevails, although clouds are thickening across southern areas. The northern Plains are experiencing another day of mild weather, which is further eroding winter wheat’s protective snow cover.
In the West, rain continues to overspread the region’s southern tier, including southern California and the Desert Southwest. Snow is developing in higher elevations of the Four Corners region. Meanwhile, cold, stagnant air remains trapped in valley locations of the interior Northwest, leading to local fog formation, USDA notes.
Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6 :15 a .m. EST (NOAA)
In the Corn Belt, USDA says snow showers linger in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. Dry conditions prevail over the remainder of the Midwest, though mild weather is melting the northern Corn Belt’s extensive snow cover.
In the South, dry weather accompanies near- to above-normal temperatures. Some of the region’s hardest-hit drought areas, such as the southern Appalachians, have received significant rainfall since late November. However, a few areas — such as Florida’s peninsula — are experiencing acute short-term dryness.
In its outlook through Dec. 26, USDA says that for the remainder of today, light snow will spread across the Northeast, while a mix of rain and snow will fall in the Southwest. The Southwestern storm will drift eastward, producing late-week showers across the central and southern Plains and the Mississippi Valley. On Christmas Eve, precipitation will spread into the eastern U.S., with locally heavy rain possible across the interior Southeast. Meanwhile, a potent winter storm will arrive in northern California and the Northwest on Friday before reaching the central High Plains on Christmas Day and the upper Great Lakes region by December 26. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 4 inches in parts of California and the Southwest, while substantial late-week snow will accumulate from the Sierra Nevada and the southern Cascades to the Intermountain West. On December 25-26, deteriorating travel conditions across the north-central U.S. will include wind-driven snow and falling temperatures. At the same time, showers and thunderstorms could develop from the eastern Plains into the Mississippi Valley