5-day precipitation forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, a fresh blanket of snow remains on the ground from eastern Nebraska into Michigan. Other parts of the upper Midwest (e.g. Minnesota) retain a snow cover from late-December storminess. Early Wednesday, snow has developed across parts of Missouri, spreading toward the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys. Elsewhere, Wednesday morning’s temperatures fell below 0° in parts of the upper Midwest, extending as far south as northern Iowa. 

On the Plains, snow is again falling in southeastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas, following Monday’s major accumulations. The remainder of the region is experiencing cold, mostly dry weather. Wednesday morning’s low temperatures plunged below -20° in parts of northern North Dakota and fell to 0° or below as far south as eastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas. Winter wheat fields across Montana and the western Dakotas remain largely devoid of snow cover.

In the South, snow is overspreading the Ozark Plateau. Meanwhile, rain is falling in parts of the Southeast. However, warm, dry weather continues across Florida’s peninsula, where Wednesday’s high temperatures could approach 85°. Topsoil moisture in Florida, as reported by USDA, was 36% very short to short on January 24, up from 9% in late December.

In the West, California’s most significant storm of the season to date is producing heavy precipitation and high winds. In the Sierra Nevada, where blizzard conditions are occurring, heavy snow is improving water-supply prospects. However, some lower-elevation sites in northern and central California are experiencing flash flooding and debris flows, especially on burn-scarred hillsides. Elsewhere, snow extends inland across parts of the Great Basin and interior Northwest.

For the remainder of Wednesday through Friday, a major winter storm will unfold across the West. Heavy precipitation and high winds will shift southward, reaching southern California on Thursday. Major hazards in California may include flash flooding, travel disruptions, and ebris flows. Late-week impacts—including drought relief—from the sprawling storm will extend inland across the Great Basin, Intermountain West, and Southwest. Meanwhile, a weaker system crossing the central and eastern U.S. will produce mid-week rain in the Southeast and a band of snow from the Ozark Plateau into Virginia and North Carolina. During the weekend, storm system currently affecting the West will move eastward, delivering wintry precipitation across the Midwestern and middle Atlantic States and sparking showers and thunderstorms in the Southeast. Elsewhere, a new storm system will arrive during the weekend along the northern Pacific Coast, while dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days on the High Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures across the central and eastern U.S., while colder-than-normal conditions will cover the West. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in southern Texas and along the southern Atlantic Coast should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in most other parts of the country, stretching from California to the Plains, Mississippi Valley, Midwest, and Northeast.

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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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