The map above (click to enlarge) shows precipitation (rain and the moisture content of snow) for the last seven days. It has been wet in the West.
The map below is the National Weather Service’s GFS model forecast for precipitation of one inch or more (light green) between now and New Year’s morning. The purple areas in California are 14 to 16 inches. Meanwhile, no significant moisture is expected in the dry central and southern Plains (i.e., amounts will be less than one inch) into the Southeast.
This map shows the dry areas (shades of yellow with red the driest) the last 90 days. The dark red indicates no moisture at all has fallen.
The 2011 winter wheat crop is showing stress in a number of areas due to the dry weather. Lack of snow cover also makes it vulnerable to very cold temperatures.