Wednesday's weather map
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Across the Corn Belt, rain is falling early Wednesday in the middle Mississippi Valley and environs. Showers are also developing in parts of the Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, patches of light snow are affecting the upper Great Lakes region. Above-normal temperatures accompany the damp weather pattern.

On the Plains, tranquil but occasionally foggy weather prevails between storms. Rain, which is ending across the central and southern Plains, fell heavily in some areas on Tuesday. Currently, a few patches of light snow and freezing drizzle are occurring across the northern Plains.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms are causing pockets of flash flooding early Wednesday from the Ozark Plateau into northeastern Texas. Meanwhile, mild weather accompanies locally dense fog in the Southeast.

In the West, California continues to receive scattered rain and snow showers. Spotty showers are also occurring in other areas, including the Southwest and Intermountain West. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the average water equivalency of the Sierra Nevada snowpack has increased 3 inches in recent days and currently stands at 13 inches—about 46% of the mid-March average.

A storm system currently centered just west of Baja California will move northeastward, crossing the central Plains on Thursday and reaching the Great Lakes region early Friday. The storm’s trailing cold front will stall across the Deep South, where rain showers will linger through the weekend. Primary impacts from the sprawling system will include heavy rain (locally 2 to 4 inches or more) from the southeastern Plains into the Ohio Valley; wind-driven snow—mostly on Thursday— from the central Rockies into the upper Great Lakes region; and a cold outbreak in the storm’s wake across the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. The rain could result in flooding, especially in areas where soils remain saturated, while blizzard conditions in an area centered on western Nebraska and southeastern Wyoming could lead to substantial livestock stress. However, the snow will also help to insulate winter wheat from the cold that will follow the storm. Farther south, late-week low temperatures generally ranging from 15 to 25° on the southern High Plains should not significantly threaten winter wheat that has begun to joint. Elsewhere, beneficial precipitation will gradually subside across northern and central California, while mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in southern Florida and the Pacific Northwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures along and west of a line from Arizona to the Dakotas, while warmer-than-normal weather will cover the South, East, and lower Midwest. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in southern Florida and much of the south-central U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across the remainder of the country.

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