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Across the Corn Belt, a cold front stretching from the lower Great Lakes region into Missouri is helping to focus showers and thunderstorms. The rain is generally benefiting late-planted, late-developing corn and soybeans. Meanwhile, cool, dry air is overspreading the upper Midwest, where Thursday morning’s low temperatures locally fell to 50° or below.

On the Plains, showers and thunderstorms remain active from Nebraska to Oklahoma. Meanwhile, producers on the northern Plains are harvesting small grains in advance of an approaching cold front. Elsewhere, a late-summer heat wave persists across much of Texas, maintaining stress on immature summer crops.

In the South, hot, humid weather favors crop development. Isolated to scattered showers are occurring in several areas, including the Gulf Coast region. An approaching cold front is producing some rain across the northern tier of the region, mainly from Kentucky to northern Arkansas.

In the West, scattered showers in conjunction with a cold front’s passage are affecting the northern Rockies. In advance of the front, across the Intermountain West, there is an elevated threat of wildfire development and expansion due to hot, dry, breezy conditions and low humidity levels.

During the next several days, cold fronts will have some success in suppressing heat and humidity across the central and eastern U.S. However, hot, humid conditions will persist along and near the Gulf Coast, while the southern Plains will experience only a temporary reprieve before excessively hot weather returns late in the weekend. Hot weather will also persist into next week across much of the interior West, where little or no rain will fall. In contrast, 5-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches or more in several areas, including the upper Midwest, the central Gulf Coast region, and from the central Plains to the middle and southern Atlantic Coast.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for cooler-than-normal conditions across the Plains, mid-South, and upper Midwest, while above-normal temperatures will cover the East, the Rio Grande Valley, and areas west of the Rockies. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal weather in the Northwest will contrast with near- or above-normal rainfall across the remainder of the country.

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