5-day rainfall forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, a cool, mostly dry weather pattern continues. Filling summer crops are experiencing an absence of heat stress, although pockets of Midwestern drought remain a concern. Early Friday, showers and thunderstorms are encroaching on westernmost corn and soybean production areas, including the eastern Dakotas.

On the Plains, an ongoing showery weather pattern is causing minor fieldwork delays but generally benefiting rangeland, pastures, and immature summer crops, such as corn, cotton, and sorghum. On August 2, fifty-five percent of the U.S. sorghum crop was rated in good to excellent condition, up from 46% on July 12, just 3 weeks ago.

In the South, warm, humid, showery weather persists across the middle and southern Atlantic States. The remainder of the South continues to experience mostly dry weather and near- or below-normal temperatures. On August 2, roughly three-quarters of the U.S. rice (76%) and peanuts (73%) were rated in good to excellent condition.

In the West, the monsoon circulation remains suppressed, resulting in hot, mostly dry weather in the Four Corners States. Phoenix, Arizona, has reported 32 days with high temperatures reaching 110° or greater so far this year, just one day shy of the 2011 annual record of 33 days. Dry weather prevails throughout the remainder of the West, favoring fieldwork but maintaining stress on rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed crops. According to the August 4 U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly two-thirds (63%) of the 11-state Western region is currently experiencing drought.

Warm, humid, showery weather will linger into the weekend across the middle and southern Atlantic States, where additional rainfall could total 1 to 3 inches. Meanwhile, a slow-moving cold front will cross the central U.S. By early next week, the front—which currently extends southwestward from Montana—will be aligned from the Great Lakes States to the southern Plains. Five-day rainfall totals, primarily in advance of the cold front, could total 2 to 4 inches in the upper Great Lakes region. Other areas from the eastern Plains into the Midwest could receive as much as 1 to 2 inches. In contrast, little or no rain will fall during the next 5 days from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, except for isolated showers in the southern Rockies. Elsewhere, a period of cooler-than-normal conditions in the Northwest will contrast with persistent heat across the Four Corners States and portions of the High Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the northern Great Basin and the Northwest. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal rainfall for much of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the nation’s norther tier from the Pacific Northwest into the upper Mississippi Valley, as well as most of the Ohio Valley and Southeast.

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