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Across the Corn Belt, a surge of cool air is arriving across the upper Midwest, accompanied by a few showers.

In parts of the central and eastern Corn Belt, late-planted, late-developing corn and soybeans are experiencing varying degrees of stress due to dry, compacted topsoil and poorly developed root systems. On Aug. 4, one-fifth to one-quarter of the corn was rated very poor to poor in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. 

On the Plains, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms are developing Wednesday morning in parts of Kansas and Nebraska. However, hot, dry weather on the southern High Plains continues to stress rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed summer crops. On Aug. 4, topsoil moisture was rated 73% very short to sort in Texas.

In the South, warm, humid weather accompanies isolated showers and thunderstorms. On Aug. 4, more than two-thirds of the U.S. rice (68%) and peanuts (69%) were rated in good to excellent condition. However, a few pockets of drought still exist in the Southeast, where Georgia’s topsoil moisture was rated 52% very short to short on August 4.

In the West, hot, dry weather prevails, aside from cool conditions along the Pacific Coast and isolated showers in the Southwest. Dry weather in the Northwest favors small grain maturation and harvesting, although topsoil moisture shortages exist in Oregon (66% very short to short) and Washington (52% very short to short).

An ongoing heat wave across the southern High Plains will contrast with a gradual expansion of cool air in many other areas of the country. The coolest weather will affect the northern Plains, with the lowest temperatures affecting northern sections of the Rockies and Plains during the weekend.

Meanwhile, a series of cold fronts will spark scattered showers across much of the nation, with some of the heaviest rain expected in the mid-South and central Plains. However, little or no rain will fall during the next 5 days in California, the Great Basin, and the south-central U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the northern Rockies into the Northeast, while hotter-than-normal weather should prevail across the southern half of the U.S. and along the Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal rainfall across most of the country will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in southern Texas and the Intermountain West.

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