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Across the Corn Belt, frost and temperatures near the freezing mark were noted early Thursday from the Mississippi Valley westward. Meanwhile, cool, breezy weather prevails in the eastern Corn Belt. Fieldwork remains a challenge in the northern Corn Belt due to wetness and pockets of lowland flooding. On October 13, topsoil moisture was rated at least one-third surplus in North Dakota (62%), Minnesota (51%), Michigan (43%), Wisconsin (41%), South Dakota (35%).

On the Plains, dry weather accompanies near- or above-normal temperatures. Harvest activities are proceeding across the central and southern Plains, but wetness-related fieldwork delays persist on the northern Plains. Producers are still attempting to complete the spring wheat harvest in Montana and North Dakota, while harvesting of crops such as sugarbeets and sunflowers remains significantly behind the normal pace, especially in the Dakotas

In the South, cool, dry weather prevails. A Frost Advisory is in effect early Thursday in parts of the southern Appalachians. Most of the region has received beneficial rainfall in recent days, although more precipitation will be needed to revive drought-stressed pastures and fully replenish soil moisture.

In the West, cool air is spreading farther inland across the Pacific Coast States. In the Northwest, where drought has been eradicated, scattered showers accompany the cool conditions. Meanwhile, warm, breezy conditions are developing across the Intermountain West, leading to an elevated threat of wildfires.

For the remainder of Thursday, rainy, windy weather will dominate the Northeast. Meanwhile, a developing disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico will likely become a tropical storm during the next few days while drifting northeastward. That system will provide another round of Southeastern drought relief, starting late Friday and continuing into the weekend. Farther west, a series of Pacific storms will maintain cool, showery weather from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Significant snow will fall at higher elevations of the Northwest. Late in the weekend, a low-pressure system will intensify over the nation’s mid-section and move northeastward, delivering another round of rain and snow across the northern Plains and upper Midwest. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days from central and southern California to the southern High Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the Rockies to the Mississippi Valley, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in the Far West and along the Atlantic Seaboard. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation from California and Oregon to the southern half of the Plains should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across the North and east of the Mississippi River.

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