In the West, cooler air is beginning to overspread areas west of the Rockies. Widespread rain and snow showers are occurring across the northern half of the region, in conjunction with a storm system moving ashore in the Pacific Northwest. Dry weather prevails in the Southwest, following recent beneficial precipitation.

On the Plains, dry weather prevails, following weekend precipitation that provided some limited relief to drought-stressed pastures, rangeland, and winter wheat from Nebraska to Texas. Although most areas received only light precipitation, weekend totals exceeded a half-inch from west-central Kansas into eastern Nebraska.

In the Corn Belt, recent mild weather and rainfall has melted much of the upper Midwestern snow. The current snow depth in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, stands at an inch, down from 9 inches a week ago. Mild, dry weather prevails elsewhere, except for a few rain showers in the Ohio and middle Mississippi Valleys.

In the South, widespread rain showers are providing additional relief from previously dry conditions. Currently, some of the heaviest rain is falling across portions of Alabama and Georgia.

Outlook: The week will begin with much of the nation experiencing mild weather, but sharply colder air will overspread the western half of the U.S. by mid-week. During the second half of the week, cooler weather will engulf the remainder of the country, except for lingering warmth in the Northeast. During the next 5 days, a series of fast-moving storms will affect much of the nation. In the East, a pair of early-week storms will be followed by another storm toward week’s end. Weekly precipitation totals of 2 to 4 inches can be expected in the Northeast, while 1- to 2-inch totals will be common across the remainder of the eastern one-third of the U.S. By December 19- 20, a storm emerging from the West will produce potentially significant snowfall from the central Plains into the upper Midwest, while thunderstorms will sweep across the South. In the West, unsettled weather will result in 5-day precipitation totals of 2 to 6 inches in the Pacific Northwest and locally 1 to 2 inches in the Intermountain West. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 22-26 calls for warmer-than-normal weather in Maine and the southcentral U.S., while near- to below-normal temperatures will cover the remainder of the country. Meanwhile, wetterthan- normal conditions across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with below-normal precipitation in southern Florida, the upper Great Lakes region, and central and southern portions of the Rockies and High Plains.