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Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails. Although patchy frost was reported early Friday in the western Corn Belt, the Midwestern growing season continues, allowing corn and soybeans to edge closer to maturity. Still, one-quarter to one-third of the corn had not yet dented by September 29 in Wisconsin (67% dented), Ohio (70%), Michigan (72%), and North Dakota (75%).

On the Plains, showers from Kansas to northern Texas are slowing fieldwork but benefiting rangeland, pastures, and recently planted winter wheat. Across the northern and central Plains, cool weather is slowing winter wheat emergence and development.

In the South, a cold front is crossing the Tennessee Valley and southern Mid-Atlantic States, trailed by cooler air. However, record-setting, triple-digit heat persists in parts of the Southeast, further stressing pastures and depleting topsoil moisture. On Thursday, temperatures reached or exceeded the 100-degree mark in many locations from Mississippi to the Carolinas, with highs climbing to 102° in Meridian, Mississippi; Montgomery, Alabama; and Macon, Georgia.

In the West, showers linger across the southern Rockies and neighboring areas. Meanwhile, a developing storm system is producing scattered Northwestern showers. Elsewhere, dry weather favors autumn fieldwork, including rice harvesting in California and cotton harvesting in Arizona.

Later Friday and into Saturday, showers will become more numerous across the Plains and spread across the upper Midwest. Event-total rainfall could reach an inch or more in the upper Mississippi Valley and environs. Late in the weekend and early next week, showers and thunderstorms could provide some relief from short-term drought across the South and East. Some of the heaviest rain, locally 1 to 2 inches, should fall from the Tennessee Valley to New England. In addition, a record-setting heat wave will gradually end across the Southeast. Meanwhile in the Northwest, shower activity will diminish during the weekend but return early next week. Elsewhere, cold air will arrive in the Northwest by next Tuesday, October 8, and quickly surge southeastward.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- or above-normal temperatures across the southern and eastern U.S., while colder-than-normal weather will prevail from the Pacific Northwest to the Plains and western Corn Belt. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in southern Texas, New England, the lower Southeast, and parts of the northern Plains

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