In the West, rain and snow showers stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, but
California and the Great Basin remain unfavorably dry. California’s rangeland conditions have begun to
deteriorate due to lack of rain, and some supplemental feeding of livestock has been necessary. In Arizona, the cotton harvest was 88 percent complete by Dec. 25, compared to the 5-year average of 94 percent.

On the Plains, temperatures are rebounding to near- or above-normal levels across the southern half of the region, melting residual snow. Meanwhile, unusually warm, breezy conditions prevail on the northern Plains, where today’s high temperatures could approach 60°F as far north as Montana.

In the Corn Belt, mild, dry conditions persist in the upper Midwest. In contrast, cold, breezy conditions
prevail in the eastern Corn Belt, following Tuesday’s rain and snow, although soils have not completely
frozen in areas where corn remains standing in the field.

In the South, cool, dry weather prevails in the wake of recent, drought-easing rainfall.

Outlook: A pattern change will bring storminess to the nation’s northern tier, while little or no precipitation will fall across the southern two-thirds of the nation. During the next 5 days, precipitation could total 2 to 8 inches in the Pacific Northwest and 2 to 4 inches in the northern Rockies. Generally light precipitation will fall from the northern Plains into the Northeast, with some locally heavier amounts in the Great Lakes region. Much of the U.S. will experience near- or above-normal temperatures through week’s end, but colder air will arrive in the East early next week. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for Jan. 2-6, 2012, calls for warme rthan-normal weather nationwide, except for near- to below-normal temperatures in the Southeast. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal conditions in the southern two-thirds of the U.S. (excluding Florida’s peninsula) will contrast with near- to above-normal precipitation across the nation’s northern tier.