Much cooler air heading for the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, a Frost Advisory was in effect early Thursday in parts of the eastern Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota, where Thursday morning low temperatures generally ranged from 30 to 40°. Meanwhile, a band of generally light rain stretching from Upper Michigan to near the Iowa-Missouri-Nebraska triple point is slowing fieldwork but benefiting drought-stressed pastures.

On the Plains, cool weather prevails, except for a return of above-normal temperatures to Montana’s High Plains. From the southern High Plains to southeastern Nebraska, rain is boosting topsoil moisture for newly planted winter wheat and aiding drought-stressed rangeland and pastures.

In the South, mild, mostly dry weather favors crop maturation and fieldwork, including harvest activities for a variety of summer crops.

In the West, temperatures are rebounding to above-normal levels, especially across the northwestern half of the region. Cool conditions and a few showers linger in the southern Rockies.

During the next few days, active weather will continue in the vicinity of a cold front. Showers will be especially numerous along the slow-moving tail (southern portion) of the front, where 5-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches in parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Locally heavy showers will also develop in the vicinity of the Gulf Coast. In the Midwest, however, rainfall totals will be generally less than an inch. By early next week, rain will begin to surge northward across the Southeast, where 1 to 2 inches can be expected.

In contrast, dry conditions will prevail into next week across the northwestern half of the Plains and much of the West. During the weekend, heat will temporarily return to the northern Plains and upper Midwest.

Early next week, however, chilly conditions will return to the Plains and Midwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the Plains to the Appalachians, while warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to New England and the West. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across the northern and central Plains and the West will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions from the Mississippi River, eastward.

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