Weather, temps in a broad range across the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, a disturbance crossing the upper Great Lakes region is producing some light snow and gusty winds. In fact, any meaningful snow cover is limited to the far upper Midwest. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather favors off-season activities, including farm maintenance. Tuesday’s temperatures will reach 50°F or higher in parts of the southern Corn Belt.
On the Plains, dry weather prevails, aside from some early-Tuesday morning snow showers in the eastern Dakotas. An elevated wildfire threat has returned across portions of the central and southern High Plains, amid drought, cured fine fuels, gusty winds, and low humidity levels. Tuesday’s high temperatures will exhibit a wide range, from 10°F or below in northeastern North Dakota to near 70°F in parts of western Texas.
In the South, a chilly rain is falling east of the Mississippi Delta. Lingering warmth is confined to southern Florida, where showers and thunderstorms in advance of an approaching cold front are reducing irrigation demands. On December 19, prior to Florida’s rain, statewide topsoil moisture was rated 30% very short to short. The remainder of the region, including the tornado-recovery zones of the mid-South, is experiencing cool, dry weather.
In the West, disorganized cloudiness precedes the arrival of a Pacific storm system. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack stood at 7.3 inches (95% of average for the date) on December 20, up from less than an inch at the beginning of the month. Similar improvements have been noted in other areas, although mountain snowpack continues to languish in much of the Southwest.