In the West, cool conditions linger across the central and southern Rockies. Meanwhile, a few rain and snow showers are returning to the northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Elsewhere, mild, dry weather favors fieldwork, including Arizona’s late-season cotton harvesting—80% complete by December 9.

On the Plains, mild weather is returning to Montana, but cold conditions linger elsewhere across the nation’s mid-section. Across the majority of the region, winter wheat is poorly established and susceptible to harm during winter weather extremes. On the northern Plains, however, snow cover is providing wheat with some beneficial moisture and insulation.

In the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails. Recent downpours have largely eradicated lingering drought in the eastern Corn Belt, while a weekend snow storm provided a little bit of drought relief in the upper Midwest.

In the South, isolated showers linger in the southern Atlantic States. Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the region, promoting a limited return to late-season fieldwork. By December 9, North Carolina’s soybean harvest was 86% complete.

Outlook: During the next several days, the focus for active weather will return to the West, although rain will linger through mid-week in the lower Southeast. By the middle of the week, wet weather will return to California and the Northwest. By Thursday, showers will spread into southern California. Toward week’s end, beneficial rain and snow will arrive across portions of the Southwest. The south-central U.S. may also experience some drought relief, although significant precipitation will largely bypass the southern High Plains. During the mid- to late-week period, temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels east of the Rockies, except for lingering cold across portions of the northern Plains and upper Midwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 16-20 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Coast States. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the central one-third of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the East and West.