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Across the Corn Belt, rain stretches from the Great Lakes region into the middle Mississippi Valley. The rain, in some cases falling on already saturated soils, is sparking new areas of flooding. In addition, the Mississippi River is already running high due to runoff from melted snow and earlier rainfall. Early Wednesday, the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois, was more than 7.2 feet above flood stage and slowly rising—and about 0.4 foot (approximately 5 inches) below the July 1993 crest record.

On the Plains, unusually cool weather prevails, especially from Kansas northward. Snow showers linger in several areas, including western sections of Nebraska and South Dakota. Heavy rain is falling early Wednesday in parts of eastern Oklahoma, following Tuesday’s severe weather outbreak that spawned several tornadoes across the southeastern Plains.

In the South, warm weather is promoting a rapid crop development pace for winter wheat and recently emerged summer crops. However, planting delays persist in parts of the mid-South and lower Mississippi Valley due to wet conditions, and rain is currently returning across portions of those regions.

In the West, cool weather prevails. Freeze Warnings were in effect Wednesday in several areas, including the western Great Basin and portions of Idaho’s Snake River Plains. Lingering rain and snow showers dot the Intermountain West.

Storminess across the nation’s mid-section will gradually shift into the South, East, and lower Midwest. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 5 inches or more along an axis stretching from central Texas into the lower Great Lakes region. In contrast, areas west of the Rockies will experience mostly dry weather and a gradual warming trend. During the weekend, a new surge of cold air will arrive across the northern Plains and upper Midwest, accompanied by rain and snow showers.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures in the Desert Southwest and from the northern Plains to New England, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in northern California and the Pacific Northwest, and from the southern Plains to the middle and southern Atlantic States. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation nearly nationwide will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest.

Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."