A big change in weather ahead...

Across the Corn Belt, the season’s first significant cold front is crossing the upper Midwest, preceded and accompanied by locally heavy showers and thunderstorms. Meanwhile, hot, dry weather is maintaining stress on filling corn and soybeans across the southern and eastern Corn Belt.

On the Plains, showers and thunderstorms in the vicinity of a cold front stretch from eastern South Dakota to eastern Colorado. The front separates cool, dry weather on the northern Plains—where the spring wheat harvest is advancing—from hot, dry conditions across the southern half of the Plains

In the South, Tropical Depression Thirteen is nearly stationary, centered about 210 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Heavy showers associated with the developing storm are spreading into the central Gulf Coast region. Elsewhere, hot, dry weather is promoting crop maturation and fieldwork, including corn and rice harvesting.

In the West, dry weather prevails, except for isolated showers from Arizona to Colorado. In California, warm, dry weather favors fieldwork and the development of crops such as cotton and rice.

The tropical depression over the north-central Gulf of Mexico will become a tropical storm later Friday or during the weekend. Rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts in excess of 20 inches, may occur in the central Gulf Coast region. Early next week, heavy rain may spread northeastward toward the Mid-Atlantic States.

Meanwhile, a cold front moving across the Plains and Midwest will be preceded by thunderstorms and trailed by markedly cooler air. By early next week, the front may begin to interact with tropical moisture across the eastern U.S. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather will prevail in the West, except for scattered showers in the Four-Corners States.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures in much of the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail across the western half of the nation. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in the Four-Corners region, the central Gulf Coast region, and the Atlantic Coast States.

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