Heavy rainfall for parts of the eastern & southern Corn Belt
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Across the Corn Belt, a significant rainfall event is underway across the lower Midwest, including the Ohio Valley. Fields are already wet across much of the eastern Corn Belt, with topsoil moisture at the end of December rated 56% surplus in Michigan and 47% surplus in Ohio. Meanwhile, the leading edge of colder air is arriving across the upper Midwest.

On the Plains, a few thunderstorms have developed in the vicinity of a strong cold front draped across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Warmth lingers across the southeastern Plains, but cold air is engulfing the remainder of the nation’s midsection. Some snow is falling across the northern half of the Plains, primarily across Nebraska and South Dakota.

In the South, unusually warm weather prevails. However, rain continues to develop and intensity across the mid-South, while widely scattered showers dot the Southeast. Given already saturated soils in parts of the South, particularly in the lower Mississippi Valley and environs, lowland flooding is becoming a major concern.

In the West, snow showers are occurring across the southern Rockies as colder air arrives. Dry weather prevails elsewhere, except in the Northwest, where a new Pacific storm system is resulting in rain, snow, and wind.

An intensifying storm system over the southern Plains will move northeastward, crossing the middle Mississippi Valley on Saturday and reaching New England by Sunday. Snow will fall northwest of the storm’s track, with significant accumulations possible in parts of the Midwest and northern New England. From the mid-South into the lower Great Lakes region, torrential rain (2 to 6 inches or more) could trigger widespread flooding. Rain will linger into early next week across the Southeast—and could become heavy in some areas. Late in the weekend and early next week, extremely cold air will begin to surge southward from Canada into the Northwest, northern sections of the Rockies and Plains, and the upper Midwest, preceded by snow. Temperatures should fall to -20° or below across portions of the northern Plains; snow in advance of the coldest weather will be important in providing insulation for winter grains.

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ooking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the Pacific Coast to the northern and central Plains and upper Midwest, while warmer-than-normal weather should prevail across the South, East, and lower Midwest. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation will occur nearly nationwide, with drier-than-normal conditions limited to southern Florida and the southern High Plains.

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