The 6-10 day rainfall forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, conditions are improving east of the Mississippi River in the wake of a departing storm system. However, scattered frost was noted early Friday in the eastern Corn Belt, where temperatures in many locations fell below 40°. Meanwhile, cloudiness is overspreading the western Corn Belt, although dry weather continues to promote a robust corn and soybean planting pace.

On the Plains, patches of light rain are limited to Montana and North Dakota. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather favors planting activities, winter wheat development, pasture growth, and summer crop emergence. However, drought continues to adversely affect some rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat, mainly across eastern Colorado and western sections of Kansas and Oklahoma. In addition, Friday’s high temperatures will reach 90° as far north as Nebraska.

In the South, showers linger early today in parts of Virginia and environs. Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the region. Lingering wetness continues to limit planting across portions of the interior South, including the Mississippi Delta. On April 26, rice planting was significantly behind the normal pace in Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi—33, 22, and 21% complete, respectively, versus the 5-year averages of 58, 46, and 51%.

In the West, slightly cooler air is arriving across the northwestern half of the region. An early-season heatwave continues, however, in the Southwest. Aside from a few showers across the Intermountain West, dry weather prevails.

For the remainder of Friday, unsettled, showery weather will linger across the Northeast. During the next several days, a pair of east-bound disturbances will maintain the chance of occasional showers across the Northwest, northern and central Plains, Midwest, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and Northeast. Five-day rainfall amounts will be mostly light, although totals could exceed an inch in several areas, particularly across the Ohio Valley and Pacific Northwest. In contrast, little or no precipitation will fall from central and southern California to the southern Atlantic Coast, accompanied by building (or continuing) heat. Elsewhere, cooler air will encroach on the northern half of the country by early next week, with freezes possible from the Great Lakes region to the interior Northeast.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures across much of the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in southern Florida, the Rio Grande Valley, and the West. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal rainfall across most of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains and the middle and northern Atlantic States

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