5-day rainfall forecast
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Across the Corn Belt, widespread cloudiness lingers. In addition, rain showers are occurring around the fringes of the Midwest, primarily in parts of Missouri and Ohio. Significant lowland flooding persists in several areas, most notably in Illinois (Illinois River basin), South Dakota (James River basin), and Michigan (Saginaw River basin), but also extending to several other watersheds in Ohio, Michigan, northern Indiana, and northern and central Illinois.

On the Plains, showers and thunderstorms remain active in the vicinity of a slow-moving cold front. Early Friday, some of the most significant thunderstorms are occurring in Kansas and Oklahoma. The Plains’ rain is generally benefiting rangeland, pastures, winter wheat, and summer crops, although a few producers are contending with thunderstorm-related wind damage and large hail.

In the South, rain had subsided across flood-affected areas of southwestern Virginia and the Carolinas, although river levels remain elevated. Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms are returning across the mid-South, following a few days of favorably dry weather.

In the West, Freeze Warnings were in effect early Friday in a few areas, including parts of western Colorado. Meanwhile, rain and high-elevation snow showers linger in the Northwest. Elsewhere, dry weather favors late-spring fieldwork, although below-normal temperatures cover most of the region. In California, 88% of the rice and 85% of the cotton had been planted by May 17.

The nearly stationary storms that have caused flooding on opposite sides of the country are starting to move. Flooding in the Northwest has been mostly minor due to underlying drought—but has been locally significant in parts of the Midwestern and middle Atlantic States. As the Northwestern storm departs, drier air will overspread the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. In addition, a Northwestern chill will be replaced by warmer weather. Meanwhile, mid-Atlantic showers will become lighter and less organized. However, the new focus for heavy rain will become the south-central U.S., where 5-day totals could reach 2 to 5 inches or more. In contrast, dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in northern New England and from California to the Four Corners region. In the Southwest, building heat will accompany the dry weather, especially early next week. In fact, much of the country—excluding the south-central U.S.—will be experiencing near- or above-normal temperatures by the end of the Memorial Day weekend.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the south-central U.S. Meanwhile, above-normal rainfall across much of the South, East, and lower Midwest should contrast with drier-than-normal weather from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Plains and far upper Midwest.

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