In the West, rain and snow showers stretch from southern California into the Four Corners States. Arizona’s cotton harvest was 75% complete by December 11, compared to the 5-year average of 84%. Meanwhile, cool, dry weather prevails in the Northwest.

On the Plains, a few light rain showers are developing across the southern half of the region. Recent and ongoing precipitation has benefited the southern Plains’ winter wheat and has begun to revive drought-devastated pastures and rangeland.

In the Corn Belt, rain is quickly overspreading the mid-Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys. Fieldwork remains largely on hold in the still-soggy eastern Corn Belt, where Ohio’s corn harvest was 82% complete on December 11. Many producers are waiting for fields to freeze before resuming the corn harvest.

In the South, a return to mild, dry weather favors late-season fieldwork. In North Carolina, 89% of the soybeans had been harvested by December 11, compared to the 5-year average of 80%.

Outlook: Warm air will surge northward in advance of a storm system emerging from the Southwest. Snow will end later today in the Southwest, but mid-week rain (as much as 1 to 2 inches) will precede and accompany the storm across the central and southern Plains and the Midwest. By Thursday, the storm’s cold front will stretch from the Great Lakes States to the western Gulf Coast region. The tail of the front will stall across the South, where residual showers will linger through week’s end. Elsewhere, some rain and snow showers will develop in the Pacific Northwest, but mostly dry weather will prevail from California to the northern Plains. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 18-22 calls for above-normal temperatures across the northern and eastern U.S., while colder-than-normal weather will prevail in the Southwest. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in coastal New England and from California to the central High Plains will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions from the south-central U.S. into the Ohio Valley and the Mid-South.