5-day precipitation forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, mostly dry weather accompanies near- or above-normal temperatures. However, precipitation is quickly approaching the southern Corn Belt; significant rain is already falling Tuesday morning in southern Missouri. A few rain showers are also overspreading the western Corn Belt, including eastern South Dakotas and environs.

On the Plains, overnight showers and thunderstorms swept eastward, mainly across Kansas and Oklahoma. Recent and ongoing precipitation has improved soil moisture and the condition of winter wheat on the central and southern Plains. In Texas, statewide topsoil moisture rated very short to short stood at 19% on March 22, down from 40% the previous week. On the same date, 77% of the winter wheat in Oklahoma was rated in good to excellent condition, along with nearly one-half of the crop in Texas (49%) and Kansas (48%).

In the South, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms are occurring early today from the Ozark Plateau into the Tennessee Valley, maintaining soggy conditions and causing local flooding. Meanwhile, warm, dry conditions across the Deep South are promoting spring fieldwork but reducing soil moisture for crop germination and establishment. In Texas, roughly one-third of the intended corn (36%) and sorghum acreage (31%) had been planted by March 22.

In the West, dry weather has returned across southern California and the Southwest. Meanwhile, scattered to widespread rain and snow showers are affecting the Northwest. Chilly weather prevails throughout the West.

During the next several days, the focus for significant precipitation will shift northward. For the remainder of Tuesday and on Wednesday, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms will sweep eastward from the mid-South to the southern Mid-Atlantic coast. Meanwhile, a series of Pacific disturbances will move inland across the West, generating scattered rain and snow showers during the next several days. Some of the heaviest Western precipitation will fall along the northern Pacific Coast and from the Cascades southward into the Sierra Nevada. Late in the week, a storm system will emerge from the West and intensify across the central and southern Plains. By late Friday and into the weekend, wet snow may accumulate in the upper Midwest, while heavy rain can be expected in parts of the southern and eastern Corn Belt. Very warm weather will prevail in advance of the late-week storm, while chilly conditions will persist across the West. Dry weather will continue through week’s end across the Deep South, from Texas to Florida.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and near- or below-normal precipitation across most of the country. In fact, cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to parts of western Washington, while wetter-than-normal weather should be confined to New England, the lower Southeast, and along the Canadian border from Washington to northwestern Montana.

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