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Across the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are affecting some western production areas, including parts of the Missouri Valley. Cool air is arriving across the upper Midwest, but hot, humid conditions linger in the Ohio Valley.

Only 68% of the U.S. soybeans were setting pods by August 18, the slowest pace since 1996. That year, a record-low 63% of the soybeans had set pods on that date.

On the Plains, Wednesday early morning thunderstorms are particularly heavy across parts of Kansas and Nebraska. Those storms are forming near the boundary between cool conditions in Nebraska and the Dakotas and an ongoing heat wave on the southern Plains.

San Angelo, Texas, has reported a high of 100 degrees or greater each day since July 28, with temperatures averaging 6 degrees above normal during that 24-day span.

In the South, hot, humid weather continues to promote summer crop development. Heavy rain has subsided across the lower Southeast, although scattered showers linger. The hottest weather, relative to normal, persists across the mid-South, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will again approach the 100-degree mark. 

In the West, cool air is overspreading the Pacific Northwest in conjunction with a cold front’s passage. The front is sparking a few showers, mainly across western Washington. Hot weather covers interior sections of the region, with Wednesday’s high temperatures expected to approach 120 degrees in parts of the Desert Southwest. Heat and insufficient monsoon showers have increased stress on Southwestern rangeland and pastures. 

During the next few days, a surge of cool air will engulf much of the central and eastern U.S. Late-summer heat will persist, however, from the Intermountain West to the High Plains. Mostly dry weather will accompany the heat, except for a few showers in the central and southern Rockies and environs.

Meanwhile, abundant rain (locally 1 to 3 inches or more) will fall in several areas, including the central Gulf Coast region, the upper Midwest and a broad area stretching from the central Plains to the southern Mid-Atlantic States. 

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for cooler-than-normal conditions across the upper Midwest and the northern and central Plains, while above-normal temperatures will dominate much of Texas, the Atlantic Coast states and areas west of the Rockies. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather in most areas from the Plains to the East Coast will contrast with below-normal rainfall in Maine, the Four Corners region and the Northwest.

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