Unseasonable warmth from the southern Plains to the southern Corn Belt


Unseasonable warmth from the southern Plains to the southern Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, a little rain and snow is occurring in the upper Great Lakes region. Elsewhere in the Midwest, largely dry weather accompanies near- or above-normal temperatures. Friday’s high temperatures should reach 75°F or higher in the southwestern Corn Belt, including much of Missouri, and 65 degrees F as far north as the mid-Mississippi Valley.

On the Plains, record-setting warmth has returned, accompanied by dry, breezy conditions. Friday’s high temperatures will reach 65°F or higher as far north as eastern Nebraska and should exceed 85°F in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, further reducing topsoil moisture in key winter wheat production areas and maintaining an elevated wildfire threat. Across large sections of the southern High Plains, measurable rain last fell on October 12, more than 10 weeks ago.

In the South, recent chilly conditions east of the Mississippi River are being replaced by milder environs. In contrast, warmth is returning across the western Gulf Coast region, where Friday’s high temperatures should range from 75 to 80°F.

In the West, moisture is spreading inland across northern and central California—the start of a stormy spell that could result in as much as 7 to 9 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada by Sunday. A broader area of the West, extending to the western slopes of the Rockies, is receiving some rain and snow. With 93% of the 11-state Western region experiencing drought, according to the December 21 U.S. Drought Monitor, the stormy regime should provide some relief.