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Across the Corn Belt, Frost Warnings and Freeze Advisories were in effect early Friday across much of the Ohio Valley and the lower Great Lakes region. Dry weather prevails throughout the Midwest, favoring harvest activities in areas where fields are relatively dry and where corn and soybeans have sufficiently matured. In the western Corn Belt, producers continue to assess the effects of recent growing season-ending freezes on corn and soybeans that were not fully mature.

On the Plains, breezy conditions are developing in conjunction with a dry, fast-moving cold front. The mild, dry weather is generally favorable for winter wheat planting and emergence, but wet fields continue to hamper sunflower and sugarbeet harvesting, as well as other autumn fieldwork, on the northern Plains.  

In the South, cool, dry weather prevails, except for an increase in shower activity along the immediate Gulf Coast. Recent rainfall has revived drought-stressed pastures and has aided recently planted winter grains and cover crops, but more precipitation is needed to completely erase the effects of historically hot, dry weather in September and early October.

In the West, cool air continues to push farther inland in the wake of a cold front’s passage. Scattered showers linger across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, while snow showers have developed in the central Rockies. Gusty winds are occurring in several areas, especially from southern California to the central and southern Rockies.  

Tropical Depression Sixteen is forecast to move northeastward across the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall early in the weekend across western Florida. The system could become a tropical storm before reaching the U.S. However, regardless of further development, storm impacts could include a significant storm surge along Florida’s Gulf coast; tropical storm-force winds (39 mph or greater) in the eastern Gulf Coast region; and rainfall totals of 2 to 5 inches from Florida to the eastern Carolinas. By Sunday, the remnants of the tropical system should move over the western Atlantic Ocean after crossing the southern Mid-Atlantic coast. Farther west, a series of cold fronts will maintain a cool, showery regime from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies, with significant snow expected at higher elevations. Late in the weekend and early next week, a low-pressure system will intensify over the nation’s mid-section, resulting in another round of rain and snow across saturated areas of the northern Plains and upper Midwest. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days from central and southern California to the southern High Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from the Rockies to the central and southern Appalachians, while warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to California, New England, Florida’s peninsula, and the Desert Southwest. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in most areas from the Pacific Coast to the central and southern Plains will contrast with the likelihood of wetter-than-normal conditions across the northern Plains, upper Great Lakes region, and east of the Mississippi River

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