5-day precipitation forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, fog blankets portions of the middle Mississippi and lower Missouri Valleys, following recent precipitation. Residual flooding is occurring along several Missouri waterways, including the Grand River. Farther north, snow remains on the ground across southern sections of Minnesota and South Dakota, as well as northern parts of Iowa and Nebraska.

On the Plains, cool weather across the northwestern half of the region contrasts with warmth in Oklahoma and Texas. Tuesday’s high temperatures should top 80° in Texas, excluding parts of the northern and western panhandles. Some producers in Texas are still contending with drought and post-February freeze impacts, as 39% of the state’s winter wheat and 55% of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on March 14. Meanwhile on the central High Plains, producers continue to monitor the impact of recent heavy snow and gusty winds on livestock operations; in Colorado, 35% of the cows had calved when the storm hit.

In the South, rain is falling early Tuesday from the central Gulf Coast to the Carolinas. Meanwhile, warm, dry weather prevails in Florida, where topsoil moisture rated very short to short rose from 21 to 38% during the week ending March 14.

In the West, a storm system crossing the Great Basin and the Four Corners States is producing scattered rain and snow showers. The precipitation, while beneficial, is unlikely to significantly improve Southwestern water-supply prospects. In addition, the Southwest will soon enter its spring dry season with vegetation already stressed by drought. In Arizona, 89% of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on March 14, according to USDA/NASS.

As the storm system currently traversing the Southwest drifts eastward, some additional snow will accumulate through mid-week across the central and southern Rockies and adjacent High Plains. Farther east, a multi-day severe weather outbreak may begin as early as Tuesday night across the southern Plains, reaching the Southeast over Wednesday and Thursday. Meanwhile, rain will spread from the central Plains into the mid-Atlantic, with 1- to 3-inch totals possibly causing local flooding in areas where soils are already saturated. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days across the nation’s northern tier, except for late-week precipitation in the Northwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures from the Plains to the East Coast, while cooler-than-normal conditions will stretch from California to the central and southern Rockies. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation from the Four Corners States to the Mississippi Valley should contrast with drier-than-normal weather along the Atlantic Seaboard and from California to the northern Rockies.

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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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