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Across the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms stretch from Michigan into the lower Ohio Valley, and are also occurring in the upper Midwest. On May 19, prior to the latest round of rain, topsoil moisture was rated more than one-half surplus in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and at least 40% surplus in five other Midwestern States.

On the Plains, Frost Advisories and Freeze Warnings were in effect early Wednesday across eastern Colorado and westernmost Kansas. Meanwhile, cool, rainy, breezy weather on the northern Plains has halted fieldwork and crop development. Snow is blanketing the Black Hills and environs. Elsewhere, widespread lowland flooding persists across central and eastern sections of Kansas and Oklahoma, following recent downpours.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms are edging into northwestern areas, including Arkansas. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather continues to favor a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop growth. Among major U.S. row crops, only peanuts (63% planted on May 19, compared to the 5-year average of 55%) are being planted at a pace that is substantially ahead of average.

In the West, very cool weather accompanies scattered showers. Crop development has slowed in recent days due to the extended spell of below-normal temperatures. In addition, breezy conditions linger in some areas, particularly the Great Basin and the Southwest.

A slowly weakening low-pressure system over the north-central U.S. will drift eastward, crossing New England on Friday. Meanwhile, additional storm systems will affect the nation’s mid-section late in the week and early next week, respectively, boosting 5-day rainfall totals to 1 to 4 inches or more across large sections of the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. Unsettled, showery weather will also persist in much of the West. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days across the nation’s southern tier. Warmth will accompany the Southeastern dryness, while below-normal temperatures will cover much of the northern and western U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for above-normal temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and southeast of a line from Texas to Maine, while cooler-than-normal conditions will stretch from the Southwest into the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather across most of the country will contrast with below-normal rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, the southern Rockies, and the Southeast.

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