Much cooler air on the move via the northern Plains, upper Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, a strong but moisture-starved cold front stretches from the Great Lakes region into the lower Missouri Valley.  In the front’s wake, cool, breezy weather covers the upper Midwest.  Meanwhile, lingering heat is confined to the southern Corn Belt, including the Ohio Valley, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will generally range from 90 to 100°F.  Midwestern corn and soybeans continue to mature, albeit at a slightly slower-than-normal pace.

On the Plains, lingering, record-setting heat is confined to portions of Texas, Oklahoma, and southeastern Kansas.  Later Wednesday, some locations on the southern Plains may again reach or exceed 100°F.  In contrast, cool weather prevails across the northwestern half of the Plains, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will remain below 70°F.  Freezes were noted Wednesday morning in several communities in northern Montana, including Havre and Cut Bank.  Elsewhere, beneficial showers have developed early today on the central Plains, including parts of Nebraska and eastern Colorado.

In the South, hot, dry weather is nearly ideal for summer crop maturation and harvesting.  The U.S. rice harvest was 45% complete by September 18, while harvest activities were generally just getting underway for Southern crops such as cotton (11% harvested) and peanuts (4%).  In Louisiana, 71% of the intended sugarcane acreage had been planted by September 18, slightly behind the 5-year average of 82%.

In the West, spotty showers in the Four Corners States are maintaining the threat of flash flooding.  Showery weather also continues across parts of northern California, southern Oregon, and western Nevada.  Among approximately eight dozen active Western wildfires, fewer than a dozen are burning outside of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

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