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Across the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather favors a gradual push of summer crops toward maturation. Still, corn and soybeans were maturing at the slowest pace in the last one-quarter century.

U.S. corn was 58% mature on October 6, compared to the previous record of 62% in 2009. Similarly, 72% of the U.S. soybeans were dropping leaves on that date, compared with the 1996 standard of 75%.

On the Plains, most areas are experiencing warm, dry weather. However, a strong surge of cold air is arriving across western Montana, accompanied by rain and snow showers.

Across the northern Plains, wet fields are slowing fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and sunflower and sugar beet harvesting. In addition, final spring wheat harvest efforts in Montana and North Dakota have been stalled in recent days.

In the South, showers linger in the southern Atlantic States. Elsewhere, dry weather accompanies favorably cooler conditions. Early week rain provided some limited drought relief in the Tennessee Valley and environs; prior to the rain, on Oct. 6, topsoil moisture was rated 98% very short to short in Alabama, along with 96% in South Carolina and 95% in Georgia.

In the West, a winterlike storm system is approaching the Pacific Northwest and the northernmost Rockies. Sharply colder air has begun to overspread those regions, accompanied by gusty winds and scattered rain and snow showers. Farther south, warm, dry, breezy weather stretches from California to the central and southern Rockies.

A significant, early season storm will unfold during the next few days across northern sections of the Rockies and Plains. Snow will begin to accumulate later Tuesday in the northern Rockies and shift across the northern Plains during the mid- to late-week period.

Significant accumulations of wind-driven snow can be expected in parts of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas, while showers and thunderstorms will stretch from the Great Lakes region to the southeastern Plains.

Cold air trailing the storm system should result in growing season-ending freezes during the weekend across roughly the northwestern half of the Corn Belt. Elsewhere, a low-pressure system near the Atlantic Seaboard could result in heavy rain in coastal New England.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for lingering warmth across the Deep South and along the Atlantic Seaboard. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal weather across Florida’s peninsula and a broad area centered on central and southern sections of the Rockies and Plains should contrast with near- or above-normal precipitation across 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."