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Across the Corn Belt, rain is spreading across the upper Midwest, maintaining soggy conditions and further delaying the start of widespread spring fieldwork. On April 14—prior to this rainfall—topsoil moisture was rated at least 50% surplus in Minnesota (64%), Illinois (56%), and Wisconsin (54%), and at least 40% surplus in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and South Dakota.

On the Plains, rain is falling in some areas from Nebraska northward. The Red River (of the North) crest is nearing Drayton, North Dakota, where the river is about 10 feet above flood stage and at its highest level since April 2011. Meanwhile, moderate to major flooding continues in eastern South Dakota along the James and Big Sioux Rivers. Elsewhere, mild, breezy weather prevails on the southern Plains.

In the South, dry weather accompanies a warming trend, favoring an acceleration of fieldwork. However, pockets of excessive wetness linger in some areas, especially in the Mississippi Delta. On April 14, topsoil moisture was rated 64% surplus in Louisiana, along with 56% in Mississippi and 52% in Arkansas.

In the West, cool weather across the Four Corners States accompanies rain and snow showers. A few showers also stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Meanwhile in California, dry weather favors fieldwork, which has languished at times in recent weeks due to cool, damp conditions.

A complex storm system emerging from the West will cross the Plains and upper Midwest later Wednesday and reach the eastern U.S. on Friday. However, the storm will stall over the East, with precipitation lingering through the weekend in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Storm-total rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches or more along and east of a line from eastern Texas into the upper Mississippi Valley. Rain in the latter region could spark flooding, especially in areas where heavy snow fell last week or where rivers are already running high. Farther south, a multi-day severe weather outbreak will occur from Wednesday through Friday, with thunderstorms gradually shifting eastward from the southern Plains to the southern Atlantic States.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for warmer- and wetter-than-normal weather across most of the country. Below-normal temperatures will be limited to Washington State, while below-normal precipitation should be confined to California and the Southeast.

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