48-hour temperature forecast across the Nation
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Across the Corn Belt, a widespread freeze was reported Wednesday morning in much of North Dakota and portions of neighboring states. Temperatures were low enough in some locations to terminate corn development, which in North Dakota was 52% dented and only 6% fully mature on September 6. Meanwhile, a chilly rain is benefiting pastures and immature summer crops in many areas from Michigan to Nebraska. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather lingers across the Ohio Valley.

On the Plains, unusually cold weather prevails. Widespread freezes were noted Wednesday morning as far south as eastern Colorado, where snow is accumulating. In fact, snow is falling early Wednesday as far south as Amarillo, Texas. Widespread precipitation is providing relief to rangeland, pastures, and immature summer crops—and providing much-needed moisture in advance of winter wheat planting—in drought-affected areas across the central and southern Plains.

In the South, showers are spreading ashore in Virginia and the Carolinas. Meanwhile, patchy showers are affecting areas along and near the Gulf Coast. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather favors harvest activities and other early-autumn fieldwork. However, the Mississippi Delta rice harvest has gotten off to a slow start due to delayed maturation and recent downpours; in Arkansas, only 10% of the rice had been harvested by September 6, compared to the 5-year average of 28%.

In the West, thick smoke continues to reduce air quality in portions of the Pacific Coast States, where dozens of wildfires are burning. The Creek Fire, northeast of Fresno, California, still with no containment, has scorched more than 150,000 acres of timber and chaparral. An elevated threat of wildfires continues today across large sections of the Pacific Coast States and the Great Basin. Farther east, however, sharply colder weather prevails in the central and southern Rockies and the Southwest, while snow continues to blanket portions of the Colorado Rockies.

Thursday, September 10, will feature a final day of sub-32° temperatures across parts of the far upper Midwest; this week’s freezes in that region are occurring approximately 2 to 3 weeks earlier than the normal date of the first autumn freeze. Meanwhile, locally heavy showers will continue to spread inland across the middle and southern Atlantic States, with 5-day totals reaching 2 to 5 inches or more in some locations. Rain will also spread from the central and southern Plains into the upper Midwest, with 1- to 3-inch totals common from Texas to Wisconsin. In contrast, no rain will fall during the next 5 days in the Far West and across northern sections of the Rockies and High Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures from the central and southern Plains into the Midwest and Northeast, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail across the West, Southeast, and northern High Plains. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation across much of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the Pacific Northwest and from the western Gulf Coast region into the middle and southern Atlantic States

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