Next week's weather map
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Across the Corn Belt, temperatures have begun to moderate but remain mostly at near- or below-normal levels. Dry weather prevails throughout the Midwest, but a substantial snow cover is in place from the eastern Dakotas to Michigan.

On the Plains, chilly conditions linger, especially across the southern half of the region. Friday morning’s low temperatures ranged from 10 to 20° at a broad array of weather stations throughout the Plains. Key winter wheat production areas have mostly a patchy, shallow snow cover, but weather conditions for overwintering wheat remain generally benign.

In the South, cold, dry, breezy weather prevails in the wake of a departing storm system. Much of North Carolina and portions of neighboring states received at least 1 to 3 inches of snow on Thursday, resulting in some lingering icy roads and travel disruptions. On the Ozark Plateau, Friday morning’s low temperatures fell below 20°.

In the West, mild weather in the Pacific Coast States contrasts with chilly conditions in parts of the Rockies and Intermountain West. Dry weather continues, but cloudiness is starting to overspread California and the Southwest in advance of an approaching Pacific storm system. No meaningful precipitation has fallen during the last month in the Sierra Nevada, leaving the water equivalency of the high-elevation snowpack one-half of the late-February average.

A short period of tranquil weather will end during the weekend, starting in southern California and the Four Corners States. The Pacific storm system responsible for the upcoming showery in the Southwest will cross the middle Mississippi Valley on Monday. Subsequently, a complex storm system will intensify by the middle of next week across parts of the Midwest and Northeast. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 1 to 2 inches in a broad area from southern California to the lower Great Lakes region. Similar amounts may fall in a separate area across the Southeast. Some of the precipitation will fall as snow, especially across the mountains of the Southwest and—eventually—in parts of the Midwest. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in northern California and much of Texas. Elsewhere, a significant warming trend will commence late in the weekend and early next week east of the Mississippi River, while a new surge of cold air will engulf the Rockies and Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in California and environs. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in the lower Rio Grande Valley, peninsular Florida, and an area stretching from the 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."