Cooler air on the move

Across the Corn Belt, cooler air is spreading across northern and western areas, but hot weather persists in the Ohio Valley. Showers and thunderstorms are developing across the central Corn Belt in the vicinity of a cold front.

On the Plains, cooler weather prevails, except for lingering heat in parts of Texas and southern Oklahoma. Across the central Plains, scattered showers accompany the surge of cooler air. Producers have been slow to start planting winter wheat due to drought. In Nebraska and South Dakota, the 5-year average pace for wheat planting by September 2 is 6%; this year, planting stood at 1% in Nebraska and 2% in South Dakota.

In the South, hot weather is promoting summer crop maturation and fieldwork. Scattered showers are generally confined to areas along the southern Atlantic Coast.

In the West, hot, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork, including early-season winter wheat planting across the interior Northwest. Isolated showers dot the Southwest, while cool conditions are confined to the eastern slopes of the central Rockies and areas along the immediate Pacific Coast.

A cold front draped across the southern Plains and the Midwest will continue to drive southeastward, reaching the Atlantic Seaboard during the weekend. Widespread showers will precede and accompany the front, with some of the most significant rainfall -- generally an inch or more -- expected from the Mid-South into the Ohio Valley and in northern sections of Florida. A period of cool, dry weather will trail the front in most areas east of the Rockies, although late-season heat will quickly return to the Plains and Midwest by early next week.

Elsewhere, monsoon-related showers will continue in the Southwest, while a late-season heat wave will end early next week in the Northwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and near- to below-normal rainfall across most of the nation. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the lower Southeast and areas along the Pacific Coast, while wetter-than-normal weather will be limited to the southern Rockies.

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