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Winter Approaches; Drought Continues in Plains

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Recap: An intense storm moved inland from the Pacific Ocean this week, bringing widespread heavy precipitation to central and northern California, the Pacific Northwest, the northern Intermountain West and parts of the northwestern Rockies. Totals of 1 to 2 feet (liquid equivalent) were fairly common in the higher elevations and in some areas near the coast.
In contrast, mild and dry weather prevailed across the rest of the country. Most locations reported less than 0.25 inch of precipitation for the week, with totals of 0.5 to 2.0 inches restricted to portions of northwestern New England, northern New York, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, areas in and adjacent to central and southwestern Missouri, the central Ohio Valley, and part of the Southeast.

Looking Ahead: During the next five days (Dec. 6 – 10), a storm system is forecast to traverse the Ohio and lower Mississippi Valleys, bringing at least an inch of rain to a broad area from parts of Mississippi and Arkansas near the Mississippi River northeastward through the Ohio Valley, parts of the southeastern Great Lakes Region, and the northern Appalachians. Amounts of 2 to 4 inches are possible from near the Mississippi/Ohio confluence northeastward through part of western New York.

Farther west, light to moderate precipitation is expected across the central and northern Rockies, the central and northern Intermountain West and the Pacific Northwest, with totals of 1 to 3 inches possible in some higher elevations.

Elsewhere, moderate precipitation totals of 0.5 to 1.0 inch are forecast for the central Great Lakes Region, the eastern side of the Mississippi Valley south of Wisconsin, southern Florida, and much of the upper Southeast and interior Northeast.

Light precipitation is expected across the Plains outside of Texas, along the southern Atlantic Seaboard, and in portions of the Great Basin and central California. Little or none is expected elsewhere.

Temperatures should average near or above normal throughout the contiguous 48 states, with average daily highs expected to be 9 to 12 degrees F above normal from the upper Ohio Valley and adjacent Appalachians southwestward into the lower Mississippi Valley.

For the 6-10 day outlook (Dec. 11 – 15), odds favor above-normal precipitation along the northern tier of states, and from southeastern Texas, the lower Mississippi Valley, the Ohio Valley, and the Great Lakes Region eastward to the Atlantic Coast. Below-normal precipitation is favored across roughly the southwestern quarter of the contiguous 48 states and in the central Great Plains. Warmer than normal weather should continue across the northeastern quarter of the contiguous 48 states and in the south-central Plains.

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