Saturday's weather map
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Across the Corn Belt, snow remains on the ground in much of the Dakotas, Minnesota, the northwestern half of Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The snow depth in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, dropped to 4 inches early Friday—the first time it has been below the 5-inch mark since November 26. Meanwhile, slightly cooler air is overspreading the southern and eastern Corn Belt, following a spell of record-setting warmth. On December 26, daily record highs included 68° in Cape Girardeau, Missouri; 65° in Lincoln, Illinois; and 61° in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

On the Plains, tranquil weather prevails in advance of an approaching storm system. Mild conditions linger across the southern Plains, where isolated rain showers have developed. Meanwhile, chilly conditions prevail on the northern Plains, where overnight Thursday temperatures in North Dakota locally fell below 0°. Large sections of the Dakotas have reported continuous snow cover since late November, when a post-Thanksgiving storm dumped heavy snow.

In the South, unusual warmth favors off-season fieldwork and farm maintenance activities. However, showers have begun to develop in a few areas, particularly across the central Gulf Coast region, signaling the onset of a wetter pattern.

In the West, weather conditions are improving across southern California, following Thursday’s winter storm. However, significant storminess—including high-elevation snow—is currently overspreading the Four Corners States. Cool, dry weather covers the remainder of the region, except for a few rain and snow showers in the Pacific Northwest.

A storm system currently crossing the Southwest will reach the central Plains on Saturday and traverse the Midwest on Sunday and Monday. Subsequently, the system will stall over the Great Lakes region before finally shifting eastward across the Canadian Maritimes by the middle of next week. Snow associated with the storm will fall across a vast area, starting in the mountains of the Southwest and later stretching from central portions of the Rockies and High Plains into the upper Midwest. During the early to middle part of next week, wintry precipitation will spread across parts of the Great Lakes and Northeastern States. Meanwhile, the potential for a weekend severe weather outbreak exists across the South. Storm-total precipitation could reach 1 to 2 inches or more across much of the central and eastern U.S., except along the southern Atlantic Coast. Elsewhere, precipitation will return across the Pacific Coast States late in the weekend and early next week.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures and precipitation across most of the country. Colder-than-normal conditions will be confined to the Southwest, while drier-than-normal weather should be limited to California, the Great Basin, and parts of the Southwest.

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