In the West, rain and snow showers are confined to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Meanwhile, pasture and rangeland conditions continue to deteriorate in California under a mild, dry weather regime. Farther south, Arizona’s cotton harvest was 93% complete by January 8, compared to the 5-year average of 97%.

On the Plains, record-setting warmth continues in parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas, but slightly cooler air is overspreading Montana. Meanwhile, rain is gradually ending across the southern Plains, although crops continue to benefit from topsoil moisture improvements. During the week ending January 8, improvements were noted in crop conditions across Texas, although more than one-third (35%) of the winter wheat and threequarters (76%) of the rangeland and pastures remain in very poor to poor condition.

In the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather is maintaining an unusual absence of snow cover. In fact, record-setting warmth covers the upper Midwest, where today’s high temperatures will approach 50°F.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms are providing drought relief, especially in the central Gulf Coast region. Unfavorably dry conditions persist, however, in much of the southern Atlantic region.

Outlook: A storm system centered over the western Gulf Coast region will drift northeastward, reaching the Northeast by Thursday. Additional rainfall associated with the storm could reach 1 to 3 inches along and near the path of the low-pressure system. A strong push of cold air will trail the storm, starting across the Plains at mid-week and reaching the East by week’s end. However, temperatures will quickly rebound to above-normal levels during the weekend across the nation’s mid-section. Elsewhere, late-week snow squalls will become locally heavy in the vicinity of the Great Lakes, but unfavorably dry conditions will persist from California to the western Corn Belt. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for January 15-19 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather from the Great Basin and the Four Corners States into the western Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation from the Pacific Northwest into the eastern Corn Belt will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from the Four Corners region to the central and southern Plains.