The 6-10 day precipitation forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, wintry precipitation is overspreading the middle Mississippi Valley and the middle and lower Missouri Valley. The remainder of the Midwest is experiencing cold weather and thickening cloudiness as precipitation approaches from the south and west. Lower Midwestern river levels remain substantially elevated; for example, moderate flooding is occurring on the White River from Newberry, Indiana, downstream to its confluence with the Wabash River.

On the Plains, a major winter storm is underway from Kansas northward. Early Friday, snow is blanketing much of Nebraska, while wintry precipitation—including sleet and freezing rain—is falling in Kansas. Elsewhere, showers and thunderstorms are affecting the southern Plains, with some wintry precipitation lingering across western sections of Oklahoma and Texas.

In the South, wintry precipitation (sleet and freezing rain) is spreading across the Ozark Plateau. Elsewhere, scattered rain showers are developing in advance of an approaching storm system. Due to earlier downpours, moderate flooding is occurring in Mississippi along portions of the Pearl and Big Black Rivers. The Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi, continues to rise and is nearly 2 feet above flood stage, but remains more than 8 feet below last year’s highest crest.

In the West, snow is falling in parts of the northern Rockies, while rain and snow showers dot the Intermountain region. Some light precipitation also lingers in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. In general, Northwestern snowpack has greatly improved in recent weeks and is close to the mid-January average.

For the remainder of Friday and Saturday, a significant winter storm will continue to unfold from the northern and central Plains into the Northeast. Storm-related livestock stress may be greatest across the upper Midwest—including the eastern Dakotas, western Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa—where Blizzard Warnings are in effect for Friday night and much of Saturday. A broader area of the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast will experience a variety of weather hazards, including wintry precipitation and high winds, potentially leading to major travel disruptions and power outages. In addition, storm-total precipitation in excess of an inch could aggravate flooding across the lower Midwest. In the storm’s wake, cold air will briefly engulf many areas east of the Rockies. On the mornings of January 20 and 21, temperatures could plunge to 0° or below as far south as northern Missouri. Elsewhere, periods of showery weather will continue during the next 5 days in the Northwest, while little or no precipitation should occur across the High Plains and the Southwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, with the Great Lakes region experiencing the greatest likelihood of warm conditions. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in southern California and northern sections of New York and New England should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across much of the remainder of the country.

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