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Across the Corn Belt, summer crops are developing amid an absence of heat stress, with near- or below-normal temperatures continuing. In addition, several clusters of showers are benefiting corn and soybeans. Early Friday, the most significant rainfall is occurring in parts of Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

On the Plains, showers and thunderstorms are occurring early Friday across the central one-third of the region. Farther south, however, heat is again building across the southern Plains, bringing renewed crop stress. On Aug. 11, one-third (33%) of the rangeland and pastures in Texas were rated in very poor to poor condition.

In the South, locally heavy showers continue from the coastal Carolinas to southern Louisiana. Heavy rain is also occurring early Friday on the Ozark Plateau. Elsewhere, hot, dry weather is promoting fieldwork and a rapid pace of crop development.

In the West, cool weather prevails from the Pacific Northwest to the northernmost Rockies. However, the remainder of the region continues to endure hot, mostly dry weather, with parts of the Intermountain West experiencing an elevated threat of wildfires.

During the next several days, separate areas of locally heavy rain will affect the Midwest and the lower Southeast, respectively. Scattered locations in both regions could experience as much as 2 to 4 inches of rain.

A broader area stretching from the northern and central Plains into the Northeast will also receive occasional showers, but mostly dry weather will prevail into early next week from the Pacific Coast to the southern Plains. Very hot weather will accompany the dry conditions from the Intermountain West to the southern Plains. In fact, much of the country will endure hot weather, starting during the weekend or early next week. Lingering cool conditions should be mostly limited to the northernmost Plains and areas along and near the Pacific Coast.

Looking ahead, 6- to 10-day calls for near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, with the greatest likelihood of hot conditions from California to the southern High Plains. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal rainfall across most of the northern and western U.S. should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in several areas, including western Washington, the far upper Midwest and from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley.

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