Undated (AP) _ Showers and thunderstorms dumped heavy rains Wednesday from the upper Mississippi Valley across eastern Nebraska and western Kansas into the Oklahoma panhandle.

Three inches of rain fell at Atlanta, Kan., in a 24-hour period, and nearly two inches was recorded at Russell, Kan., Wednesday morning. A flash flood watch was posted over southeast Nebraska.

Scattered thunderstorms extended from Florida across the central Gulf Coast states into the Tennessee Valley. A flash flood watch was posted across east- central Louisiana where heavy rains of up to three inches fell Wednesday morning.

Elsewhere, thunderstorms were widely scattered from central Texas across western Arkansas and southern Missouri as well as over the southern half of the Rockies and the southern Plateau. Cloudy skies prevailed from the northern Pacific Coast through western Montana.

Early afternoon temperatures were unseasonably cool, with readings mostly in the 60s and 70s, over the northern Rockies, the northern and central Plans and the upper Mississippi Valley. Similarly cool temperatures also extended across the Pacific Coast region. Readings in the 70s were common throughout New York state and in New England.

Hot weather was confined mainly to the southern Plains and the desert Southwest, where midday temperatures were in the 90s to around 100.

Temperatures around the nation at 3 p.m. EDT ranged from 51 degrees at Custer, S.D., to 102 at Cotulla, Texas. The low for the morning was 31 at Lewistown, Mont.

The forecast for Thursday calls for showers and thunderstorms from the upper Great Lakes across the middle Mississippi Valley into eastern Kansas. Thunderstorms will be scattered from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Atlantic Coast states.

The southern Plains and the Rockies will have widely scattered showers and thunderstorms. There will be light rain over parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Most of the nation will have high temperatures in the 80s or low 90s. Highs will be in the 60s and 70s along the Pacific Coast, with readings also in the 70s along the northern Atlantic Coast and from Washington and northern Oregon to Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Temperatures will reach the upper 90s to around 100 over much of Texas and as high as 110 degrees across the desert Southwest.