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Across the Corn Belt, fieldwork is again nearly at a standstill, following last week’s respectable planting progress in some northern and western corn and soybean production areas. U.S. corn planting, 49% complete by May 19, broke the modern-era record for that date (previously, 50% in 1993). Soybean planting, just 19% complete on May 19, is proceeding at the slowest pace since 1996, when 15% of the crop had been planted on that date.

On the Plains, an intense low-pressure system centered near the Oklahoma panhandle is producing a broad area of heavy rain. Flood Warnings are in effect early Tuesday in central and eastern sections of Kansas and Oklahoma, while wet snow is blanketing portions of Colorado’s high plains. Windy weather accompanies the storm, especially across the southern High Plains.

In the South, warm, dry weather in advance of an approaching cold front continues to promote fieldwork, except in still-soggy sections of the lower Mississippi Valley. On May 19, topsoil moisture was rated 60% surplus in Arkansas, along with 49% in Mississippi and 44% in Louisiana.

In the West, unusually cool weather accompanies scattered rain and snow showers. Some of the heaviest snow is falling in the central Rockies, but accumulations are also occurring in the Sierra Nevada. Meanwhile, high winds are sweeping across portions of the Southwest.

A powerful storm over the central and southern Plains will drift northeastward and slowly weaken, reaching the upper Great Lakes region by Thursday. Subsequently, additional storms will cross the western and central U.S., maintaining showery conditions. Five-day rainfall totals should reach 2 to 5 inches or more across large sections of the Plains and western Corn Belt, leading to flood concerns and further planting delays. Lighter rain (locally an inch or more) will fall from the eastern Corn Belt into the Northeast, while warm, mostly dry weather will prevail in the Southeast. Elsewhere, cool, showery conditions will persist in much of the western U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for above-normal temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and from the southern Plains to the Atlantic Coast. Cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail in most areas along and west of a line from New Mexico to Upper Michigan. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather across a broad area of the country will contrast with below-normal rainfall in the southern Rockies and the Southeast.

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