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Across the Corn Belt, showers stretch from Michigan to Nebraska, helping to ease short-term dryness. On Sept. 8, Michigan led the Midwest with topsoil moisture rated 42% very short to short.

Meanwhile, the arrival of late-season warmth is benefiting late-planted corn and soybeans. Still, only 55% of the U.S. corn crop had dented by Sept. 8. The only comparable modern years for slow corn development were 1996 (52% dented on that date) and 2009 (55%).

On the Plains, cool weather in Montana and portions of the Dakotas contrasts with late-season warmth farther south. Drought remains a concern on the southern Plains as winter wheat planting preparations continue; Texas led the region on September 8 with topsoil moisture rated 85% very short to short.

In the South, hot weather favors summer crop maturation and harvesting but is causing further reductions in topsoil moisture. On Sept. 8, topsoil moisture was rated at least one-half very short to short in nine Southeastern States, led by Virginia (77% very short to short), Arkansas (67%), Mississippi (66%), and Georgia (64%).

In the West, cool air has overspread the Pacific Coast States and the northern Rockies. Isolated showers are occurring in several areas, mainly across the Intermountain West. In the Desert Southwest, dry weather favors fieldwork, including the Arizona cotton harvest, which was 2% complete by Sept. 8.

Disturbances traversing the North will remain the focus for significant rainfall, with 5-day totals of 2 to 4 inches possible from Montana to Michigan. Occasional showers will affect several other regions, including the Pacific Northwest, Four Corners States, central and southern Plains, and the Deep South, but mostly dry weather will prevail in California, the Great Basin, and the lower Mississippi Valley.

As the week progresses, late-season warmth will become well established across the central and eastern U.S., except for some cool conditions across the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Elsewhere, initially cool conditions in the West will be replaced by warmer weather late in the week. 

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and precipitation across most of the country. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to the Great Basin and the Northwest, while drier-than-normal weather should be confined to the southern half of the Plains and from the lower Great Lakes region into the Northeast.

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