In the West, dry weather continues in California, but rangeland, pastures, and winter grains are benefiting from recent soil moisture improvements. Generally favorable conditions also prevail in the Northwest, where rain and snow showers continue. Meanwhile, mild, dry weather is promoting late-season Southwestern fieldwork.

On the Plains, some light snow is developing across the Dakotas. Farther south, however, mild, dry conditions on the central and southern Plains are maintaining severe stress on rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat.

In the Corn Belt, unusually mild weather prevails. Rain is disrupting off-season fieldwork in parts of the southern and eastern Corn Belt. Some of the heaviest rain is falling in the Ohio Valley.

In the South, patchy showers are developing. Otherwise, mild weather is promoting winter wheat planting and late-season harvest activities.

Outlook: Over the weekend, a weak cold front will generate light rain across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. A second, stronger cold front will drift southeastward out of the northern Rockies, reaching the Delta and eastern Corn Belt by early next week. This front will produce showers from eastern Texas into the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, while snow will fall across central portions of the Rockies and High Plains. However, the snow will offer little—if any—relief from extreme to exceptional drought currently entrenched over the central and southern Plains. Farther north, another area of somewhat heavier snow will accompany a weak disturbance from the northern Rockies into the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region. Sharply colder weather will follow this front, with temperatures expected to average more than 10°F below normal across the Plains and Mississippi Valley by Monday. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 12-16 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures across the southern and eastern U.S. to contrast with colder-than-normal conditions across the northwestern quarter of the nation, including the northern Great Plains. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal precipitation is expected across much of the U.S., although unfavorably dry conditions will persist from the southern High Plains into western Corn Belt.