Dry U.S. Soils But Pattern Turns More Stormy

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Fig. 1-2: The U.S. soil moisture anomalies and seasonal change.

U.S. soil moisture discussion: Dry soil conditions are widespread in the West and Central U.S. most profound in California, Utah, Texas and the Western Corn Belt (Fig. 1). The driest seasonal change is across the Mid-South U.S. (Fig. 2).

U.S. precipitation pattern: The U.S. storm track strengthens into early January. In the short-term forecast a major storm unwinds today in the Central U.S. with heavy rain across the southern Great Plains, freezing rain and icing in Nebraska to southern Iowa and heavy snow in the Upper Midwest. The rain stretches from Texas (and includes severe storms) to Ohio by later tomorrow. On Thursday an area of ice and snow develops in central and western Texas. The ice and snow will extend northeastward into the Ohio Valley. Substantial snow is forecast across the Western Corn Belt Friday. Hefty precipitation across the Central/East-central U.S. the next 7 days (Fig. 3).

In the 8-14 day period the storm track is most energetic in the West and features heavy snowfall in mountain areas (Fig. 4). The storm track extends eastward and delivers more significant snow to the Upper Midwest while the Corn Belt is mostly wet (in a warmer than normal pattern).

Fig. 3-4: The ECM ENS percent of normal precipitation forecast across North America for days 1-7 and days 8-14.