Weather report: Cold and breezy on the Plains

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In the West, freeze warnings are in effect for the second consecutive morning in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where producers continue to monitor citrus and other temperature-sensitive crops. Parts of the Desert Southwest, including much of southern Arizona, are also under a freeze warning early today. Meanwhile, stormy, unsettled weather conditions persist in the Pacific Northwest.

On the Plains, cold, breezy weather prevails in the wake of a departing storm, which caused travel disruptions but provided much-needed snow for winter wheat. The heaviest snow fell on the central Plains, where Omaha, Nebraska, is reporting a 5-inch depth. However, precipitation largely bypassed the southern Plains.

In the Corn Belt, a storm system centered over the middle Mississippi Valley is producing wind-driven snow in parts of the upper Midwest. Early today, snow depths included 11 inches in Des Moines, Iowa, and 5 inches in Madison, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, heavy rain is drenching portions of the eastern Corn Belt.

In the South, cool, breezy conditions are sweeping into areas west of the Mississippi River. Meanwhile, showers and locally severe thunderstorms are affecting the Southeast.

Outlook: Winter storm and blizzard warnings remain in effect today for a large area of the Midwest, including much of Iowa and Wisconsin, as well as portions of neighboring states. Precipitation will largely end later today across the Midwest, but heavy snow will shift into parts of the northern and central Appalachians on Friday. Snow squalls will linger into the weekend downwind of the Great Lakes. Storm-total precipitation should reach 1 to 2 inches in many areas east of the Mississippi River, except for lower totals in the southern Atlantic region. Meanwhile, stormy weather will continue to move ashore in the West. Some of the most significant precipitation will fall in northern California, where 5-day totals could reach 4 to 8 inches. By early next week, a new storm system will emerge from the West, with rain expected to develop across the South and snow likely to overspread the Plains. A significant push of cold air will accompany and trail next week’s storm. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 25-29 calls for near- to below-normal temperatures and near- to above-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. Warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to areas from the Great Lakes region to New England, while drier-than-normal conditions will be limited to the southern Rockies.



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