On the Plains, blazing heat continues to severely stress pastures and both rain-fed and irrigated summer crops. Friday’s high temperatures will exceed 100° in a broad area stretching from Texas to South Dakota. Slightly cooler air and a few showers are arriving across the northernmost Plains.
Across the Corn Belt, favorably cooler weather prevails, although heat lingers across westernmost areas. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a record-setting streak of highs of 90° or greater has ended at 22 consecutive days (June 27 –July 18). In addition, drought-stressed crops in parts of the northern and eastern Corn Belt are benefiting from recent topsoil moisture improvements, but much more rain is needed. Currently, a few showers are returning to the far upper Midwest, including the eastern Dakotas.
In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms stretch from the central Gulf Coast into the Tennessee Valley. The rain is aiding later-planted summer crops and helping to revive pastures. However, the Mid- South—including much of Arkansas—remains extremely dry.
In the West, cool conditions persist in the Pacific Coast States. In the Northwest, scattered showers are slowing initial winter wheat harvest efforts.