The 6-10 day precipitation outlook
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Across the Corn Belt, warm, dry weather is promoting corn and soybean maturation and harvesting, although cloudiness is encroaching from the south. Wednesday’s high temperatures will approach or reach 90° in parts of the western Corn Belt.

On the Plains, scattered showers associated with a weak cold front are crossing the Dakotas. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather remains nearly ideal for summer crop dry down and harvesting. On September 20, the U.S. sorghum harvest was 27% complete, with state progress ranging from 2% harvested in Kansas and Nebraska to 81% in Texas. With winter wheat planting well underway (20% complete, nationally), rain will soon be needed in the driest areas of the Plains.

In the South, the remnants of Tropical Storm Beta are drifting toward the east-northeast near the upper Texas coast. Torrential rain has ended in the Houston metropolitan area, but flash flooding remains a threat from near the Texas-Louisiana border to the Mississippi Delta, where producers are monitoring open-boll cotton and other unharvested summer crops. Meanwhile, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork in the southern Atlantic States.

In the West, widespread precipitation accompanies a surge of cooler air into the Pacific Northwest. The remainder of the West is experiencing warm, dry weather. Poor air quality from wildfire smoke remains a problem in several areas, including California’s Central Valley and much of southern Oregon. The largest wildfire in California’s history, the lightning-sparked August Complex in the Mendocino National Forest, is nearly 40% contained after burning more than three-quarters of a million acres of timber, chaparral, and grass.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Beta will drift generally northeastward and continue to weaken, although additional Southeastern rainfall could total 3 to 5 inches or more. Meanwhile, a series of cold fronts will cross the Midwest, generating scattered showers. Some of the most significant rain, 1 to 2 inches over the next 5 days, should fall in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. Farther west, mostly dry weather will continue during the next 5 days from California to the Plains and middle Mississippi Valley. In the Northwest, however, frequent showers—especially west of the Cascades—should provide relief from a dry summer and aid wildfire containment efforts. Aside from a surge of cool air into the Northwest, much of the country will experience near- or above-normal temperatures during the next several days.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for above-normal temperatures in southern Florida, New England, and areas from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, while cooler-than-normal conditions will cover much of the eastern half of the country. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation across most of the U.S. should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather from the Great Lakes region to the northern and middle Atlantic States.

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