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Across the Corn Belt, a heat wave is peaking, with Friday’s high temperatures expected to range from 90 to 100 degrees across all but northern corn and soybean production areas. High humidity levels accompany the hot weather, placing additional stress on livestock and poorly rooted crops.

Elsewhere, a few showers and locally severe thunderstorms continue to traverse the northern Corn Belt. 

On the Plains, extreme heat and high humidity levels persist from Nebraska southward. The heat is maintaining stress on summer crops, such as corn and soybeans, which have begun to enter reproduction. Meanwhile, cool, mostly dry weather prevails across Montana and North Dakota. 

In the South, hot, humid weather prevails. Isolated showers are confined to areas east of the Mississippi River, where a few pockets of drought are adversely affecting some pastures and summer crops. 

In the West, cool weather in California and the Northwest contrasts with an ongoing Southwestern heat wave. Dry weather regionwide favors fieldwork, including initial Northwestern winter wheat harvest efforts.

A short-lived heat wave will end during the weekend across the Plains and upper Midwest, and early next week in most other areas east of the Rockies. Widespread showers and thunderstorms will precede and accompany the surge of cool, dry air, with some of the heaviest rain (locally 2 to 4 inches or more) falling in parts of the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. Elsewhere, monsoon-related showers will develop across the central and southern Rockies and the Desert Southwest, while mostly dry weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the northern Plains.

Looking ahead, the six- to 10-day outlook calls for hotter-than-normal weather in southern Florida and west of a line from New Mexico to Lake Superior, while below-normal temperatures will prevail across much of the South, East, and lower Midwest. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal rainfall across the West and Deep South should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in the Midwest, Northeast, and Tennessee Valley.

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