The 6-10 day temperature outlook
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Across the Corn Belt, chilly, breezy weather prevails in the wake of a departing cold front. Lingering snow showers are confined to the upper Great Lakes region. Wednesday morning’s temperatures fell below 20° in parts of the upper Midwest.

On the Plains, cool, dry weather prevails. Wednesday morning’s minimum temperatures locally fell below 10° in the Dakotas and dipped to 32° or lower as far south as Texas’ northern panhandle. However, temperatures were not low enough to significantly threaten winter wheat, which on March 28 was reported to be 45% jointing in Oklahoma and 12% jointing in Colorado. Farther north, cold weather and lighter winds are aiding containment efforts for several wildfires, including the Schroeder Fire near Rapid City, South Dakota.

In the South, locally heavy showers from the Mississippi Delta to the southern Appalachians are causing fieldwork delays and local flooding. Parts of central Tennessee are especially vulnerable to flash flooding due to the torrential rainfall that occurred on March 27-28. Meanwhile in Florida, very warm, dry weather is maintaining heavy irrigation demands.

In the West, warmth continues in California and the Desert Southwest—and is slowly expanding across other areas. Dry weather throughout the region favors spring fieldwork. In Arizona, 26% of the intended cotton acreage had been planted by March 28, compared to the 5-year average of 18%. However, the Southwest is also contending with punishing drought; 91% of Arizona’s rangeland and pastures are rated in very poor to poor condition.

For the remainder of Wednesday and into Thursday, locally heavy showers will spread from the interior Southeast into the middle and northern Atlantic States. However, the flood threat across the Tennessee Valley and environs will gradually subside as rain shifts eastward. With colder air arriving in the Northeast, precipitation will change to accumulating snow at some interior locations, particularly across northern sections of New York and Vermont. Cold air in the storm’s wake will result in freezes on April 1 across portions of the southern High Plains and as far south as the northern Mississippi Delta. On April 2, freezes will occur deep into the Southeast as far south as Alabama and Georgia, possibly threatening blooming fruits and other temperature-sensitive crops. In contrast, warmth will expand across the West and spread into the central U.S., with weekend temperatures topping 80° as far north as the Dakotas.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the Far West. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation in most areas from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi Valley and the Midwest should contrast with drier-than-normal weather in the Four Corners region and the eastern U.S.

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

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