5-day rainfall forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry, breezy weather prevails in the Great Lakes region, where Friday’s high temperatures will remain below 65°. Meanwhile, encroaching warmth across the western and southwestern Corn Belt, including Missouri and Nebraska, favors a rapid corn and soybean planting pace.

On the Plains, scattered locations in Oklahoma and Texas are recovering from recent strong thunderstorms; on Wednesday evening, hail up to 4 inches in diameter was reported in several communities. Meanwhile, the arrival of unusually warm weather across the northern Plains is aggravating the effects of drought on winter wheat and emerging summer crops. Friday’s high temperatures should approach 90° in eastern Montana and the western Dakotas.

In the South, showers across eastern Texas are generally benefiting recently planted crops (e.g. cotton and rice) but resulting in local flooding. Dry weather covers much of the remainder of the region, although lingering warmth in the southern Atlantic region contrasts with windy, cooler conditions in the middle Atlantic States.

In the West, very warm, dry weather favors fieldwork and crop development. Friday’s high temperatures will exceed 100° in parts of the Desert Southwest. However, many rain-fed crops lack moisture, as 84% of the 11-state Western region is experiencing drought, according to the April 27 U.S. Drought Monitor. On April 25, USDA/NASS reported topsoil moisture at least 50% very short to short in eight Western States.

A Frost Advisory has been issued for Saturday morning across portions of the middle Ohio Valley and environs. Farther south, rainfall through Saturday could total 2 to 6 inches or more in parts of central, southern, and eastern Texas. By Sunday, shower activity will shift eastward in conjunction with a disturbance crossing the nation’s mid-section. Five-day rainfall could reach 1 to 3 inches in the Mississippi Delta and Tennessee Valley. In contrast, little or no rain will fall during the next 5 days in the Pacific Coast States, Great Basin, Desert Southwest, northern Plains, and southern Atlantic region. Elsewhere, a brief surge of warmth across the Plains and Midwest will retreat into the South early next week, while cool weather will return across the Rockies, northern and central Plains, and upper Midwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and near- or below-normal precipitation in most areas from the Pacific Coast to the Plains. However, cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail from the middle and upper Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes States, while wetter-than-normal weather should cover the lower Southeast, as well as the Northeast and portions of the Great Lakes region.

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

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