Heat wave continues for now on the central, southern Plains

Across the Corn Belt, a return to hot weather in the middle Missouri Valley contrasts with cool conditions farther east. Showers and thunderstorms in the vicinity of a warm front are spreading across the western Corn Belt. Conditions overall remain mostly favorable for corn and soybeans, despite some short-term drying.

On the Plains, cool air is arriving along the Canadian border, but hot weather covers the remainder of the region. Friday’s high temperatures will reach or exceed 100° in many locations from Nebraska southward, temporarily increasing stress on summer crops — especially those in the reproductive stage of development.

In the South, very warm, humid conditions linger along and near the Gulf Coast. Beneficial showers are gradually subsiding across the lower Southeast, while dry weather prevails farther north and west.

In the West, shower activity has diminished and is mostly confined to the Four Corners States. Meanwhile, temperatures are rebounding but remain at mostly below-normal levels in the Northwest. Elsewhere, gusty winds in the Great Basin and the Intermountain West remain a concern with respect to wildfire development.

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Cooler weather returning to the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cool weather has returned in the wake of a cold front’s passage. The front, which is moving into the Ohio Valley, is producing scattered showers and thunderstorms in the eastern Corn Belt. On July 20, topsoil moisture was rated less than 20% very short to short in all Midwestern States except Nebraska (32% very short to short) and Missouri (23%)—and even those two values are below average for this time of year.

On the Plains, clusters of thunderstorms dot the northern half of the region. Meanwhile, hot weather is overspreading the High Plains, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will approach 100° in many locations. Despite substantial rainfall since late May, subsoil moisture (on July 20) remains at least 60% very short to short in New Mexico (66%), Oklahoma (63%), and Texas (60%).

In the South, hot, humid weather in advance of a cold front is promoting a rapid crop development pace. Rain is still needed in parts of the Southeast to alleviate crop stress. On July 20, topsoil moisture was rated at least 40% very short to short in South Carolina (54%), Kentucky (48%), and Virginia (44%).

In the West, cooler air has spread into the Pacific Coast States, but hot conditions prevail farther inland. An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect in parts of the Desert Southwest, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will exceed 110°. Showers are aiding wildfire containment efforts in the Northwest, but an enhanced risk of new wildfire activity exists in the Great Basin and then northern Intermountain West.

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Heat, high humidity from the southern Plains to the Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, cool weather is returning to the upper Midwest, following a brief period of beneficial warmth. Meanwhile, very warm weather continues across the southern and eastern Corn Belt in advance of a cold front, which is producing widely scattered showers. On July 20, corn reaching the Silking stage of development was 15 to 20 percentage points behind the 5-year average pace in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

On the Plains, hot weather continues across the southern half of the region, where Tuesday’s temperatures will again approach, reach, or exceed 100°. However, scattered showers on the southern High Plains are helping to offset the effects of heat. Meanwhile, cooler air is overspreading the northern Plains.

In the South, warm, humid weather prevails in advance of an approaching cold front. Southeastern showers are benefiting summer crops and pastures; on July 20, only one-third to one-half of the pastures were rated in good to excellent condition in South Carolina (33%), Kentucky (43%), Virginia (45%), and North Carolina (46%).

In the West, scattered showers and cooler conditions are aiding wildfire containment efforts in Washington and Oregon. Still, the Carlton Complex in northern Washington—sparked by lightning on July 14—has charred more than 240,000 acres of timber and brush and is less than 20% contained. Elsewhere, cooler weather is easing irrigation demands in California, but hot, mostly dry weather prevails in the Four Corners States.

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A brief spell of heat, humidity for the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, humid weather accompanies near- to above-normal temperatures. As a result, Heat Advisories are in effect Monday in the western Corn Belt, where temperatures will approach 95°. Isolated thunderstorms are confined to the far upper Midwest. Abundant soil moisture reserves are maintaining generally favorable conditions for reproductive corn and soybeans, despite the brief period of hot, humid weather.

On the Plains, hot, humid weather prevails in advance of a cold front. Showers are widely scattered and limited to northern areas. For the second day in a row, temperatures will reach or exceed 100° as far north as South Dakota. Heat Advisories are in effect for Monday across portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.

In the South, near- to above-normal temperatures are promoting rapid crop development. Across the Southeast, widespread showers are slowing fieldwork but boosting soil moisture for pastures and summer crops.

In the West, cooler weather is aiding wildfire containment efforts in Washington and Oregon. The destructive Carlton Complex in northern Washington has charred nearly 240,000 acres of vegetation and destroyed more than 150 homes. Cooler air is also overspreading the remainder of the West, accompanied by isolated showers.

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Near-ideal weather across the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather and near- to below-normal temperatures are promoting soft red winter wheat harvesting and maintaining nearly ideal conditions for reproductive summer crops. Corn and soybean developmental delays are mostly restricted to northern production areas.

On the Plains, mostly dry weather accompanies a gradual warming trend. A few showers linger, however, across the southeastern Plains. On July 13, prior to the southern Plains’ most recent drought-easing rainfall event, subsoil moisture was rated 63% very short to short in Texas and 67% in New Mexico and Oklahoma.

In the South, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms are crossing southern Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley. Dry weather prevails in the Southeast, where pockets of short-term dryness persist.

In the West, monsoon showers have temporarily waned across the Great Basin and the Four Corners States. Meanwhile, hot, dry conditions are maintaining stress on rain-fed crops in the Northwest, where several dozen wildfires are actively burning and the risk for additional fires remains elevated.

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Cool weather dominates the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails, except for some lingering showers in the Great Lakes region. Tuesday morning’s temperatures fell to near 50° across the northern Corn Belt, where concerns persist with regard to crop developmental delays. Nevertheless, U.S. soybeans—72% good to excellent on July 13—have been rated higher this late in the season only once in the last two decades: 73% good to excellent on August 8, 2004.

On the Plains, unusually cool weather covers the north-central U.S., but showers are overspreading parts of Montana. Tuesday morning’s low temperatures locally dipped below 40°F in the Dakotas. Farther south, rain is returning to the southern Plains, further aiding rangeland, pastures, and summer crops.

In the South, a band of showers and thunderstorms—in the vicinity of a cold front—stretches from the central Appalachians into eastern Texas. Additional showers are scattered across Florida. The rain is beneficial for pastures and summer crops. On July 13, less than half of the pastures were rated good to excellent—mostly due to short-term dryness—in Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas.

In the West, recent lightning strikes have sparked several wildfires in Oregon and neighboring areas. Hot, dry conditions persist in the Northwest. Meanwhile, monsoon shower activity has become more widespread in the Four Corners States, resulting in reduced irrigation requirements, revived rangelands, and drought relief.

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Near-ideal weather continues across much of the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather, abundant soil moisture, and near- to below-normal temperatures remain nearly ideal for corn and soybeans. On July 6, nearly one-quarter (24%) of the U.S. soybeans had begun to bloom, while 15% of the corn was Silking. Dry weather also favors soft red winter wheat harvesting.

On the Plains, scattered showers and thunderstorms are maintaining generally favorable conditions for summer crops. However, overnight rainfall caused local flooding in south-central Kansas, while wet conditions continue to hamper the winter wheat harvest across portions of the central Plains.

In the South, heavy showers are developing in parts of southern Texas, while widely scattered showers dot the remainder of the region. Rain is especially beneficial in the southern Atlantic region, portions of which have trended dry in recent weeks.

In the West, hot, dry weather in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington contrasts with near- to below-normal temperatures across the southern half of the region. Widely scattered, monsoon-related showers continue to provide limited drought relief in the Great Basin and the Southwest.

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Nearly ideal weather across the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cool, mostly dry weather is nearly ideal for pastures and summer crops, as well as soft red winter wheat harvesting. On July 6, at least half of the pastures were rated in good to excellent condition in every Midwestern State, ranging from 52% in Nebraska to 91% in Wisconsin.

On the Plains, thundershowers stretch across Oklahoma. The showers separate warm, humid conditions in Texas from cool, dry weather farther north, where winter wheat maturation and harvesting continues. On the northern Plains, rangeland and pastures were rated more than 80% good to excellent on July 6 in the Dakotas.

In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms stretch from Virginia to Arkansas. Rain is still needed in parts of the southern Atlantic States, where topsoil moisture has been diminishing and is currently rated 60% very short to short in South Carolina.

In the West, widely scattered showers in the Great Basin and Four Corners States are heaviest in parts of southern Arizona. Meanwhile, hot, dry conditions persist in northern California and the Northwest. On July 6, topsoil moisture was rated 63% very short to short in Washington.

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Winter wheat harvest a bit delayed

Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry, breezy weather prevails across the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms stretch from Michigan to southern Missouri, in conjunction with a cold front. The rain is maintaining abundant moisture reserves for corn and soybeans, but hampering winter wheat harvesting.

On the Plains, scattered showers are affecting central portions of the region, mainly Kansas. Elsewhere, cool, dry weather on the northern Plains contrasts with lingering heat in Texas. On July 6, the winter wheat harvest ranged from 13 to 18 percentage points behind the 5-year average pace in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms in advance of a cold front are pushing across portions of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Elsewhere, hot, humid weather prevails. Most pastures and crops remain well-watered, but short-term dryness has begun to develop in parts of the Southeast. On July 6, at least half of the pastures were rated in good to excellent condition in every Southeastern State except South Carolina (40%).

In the West, hot, dry weather in California and the Northwest contrasts with widely scattered showers in the Great Basin and the Southwest. Crop conditions have deteriorated in parts of the Northwest, with more than one-quarter of Washington’s winter wheat (28%) and spring wheat (29%) rated very poor to poor on July 6.

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Near ideal weather pattern across most of the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers and thunderstorms accompany a push of slightly cooler air. Hot weather lingers, however, across the southern Corn Belt. Overall growing conditions remain mostly favorable for Midwestern corn and soybeans. From New Boston, Illinois, downstream to Burlington, Iowa, the Mississippi River recently crested at its third-highest level on record, behind 1993 and 2008.

On the Plains, widely scattered showers and thunderstorms from Kansas northward are causing minor delays in winter wheat harvesting and other fieldwork. Topsoil moisture remains mostly favorable for pastures, rangeland, and summer crops, although hot, dry weather has recently returned to the southern High Plains.

In the South, hot, humid, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork and a rapid pace of summer crop development. Scattered showers are mostly confined to Florida’s peninsula.

In the West, monsoon showers are providing limited drought relief, mainly in Arizona and the southern Great Basin. In contrast, hot, dry weather is maintaining heavy irrigation demands and stressing rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed crops in California and the Northwest.

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