Heat & storms expanding across the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, very warm weather is building into southern corn and soybean production areas, where Wednesday’s high temperatures will exceed 90°. Elsewhere, beneficial showers dot the eastern Corn Belt, while favorably warm weather is aiding late-developing summer crops in the upper Midwest.

On the Plains, hot, dry weather is increasing stress on immature summer crops as far north as southern Nebraska. Temperatures could reach 100° later Wednesday in western Kansas and environs. In contrast, scattered showers on the northern Plains are slowing fieldwork, including spring wheat harvesting.

In the South, isolated showers are causing only minor fieldwork delays. On August 17, Texas led the South with 32% of its corn harvested, followed by Georgia (31%), South Carolina (19%), and Louisiana (12%).

In the West, widely scattered, monsoon-related showers stretch primarily from Arizona to the northern Rockies. Mostly dry weather prevails in the Pacific Coast States, although cooler weather is aiding wildfire containment efforts.

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Late-summer heat on the Great Plains

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers are most numerous in northern production areas, from North Dakota to Wisconsin. The rain is helping to ease the effects of short-term dryness that has developed in recent weeks. Nevertheless, overall conditions remain mostly favorable for Midwestern pastures and summer crops, in part due to this summer’s absence of stressful heat.

On the Plains, hot weather is maintaining stress on immature summer crops. Monday’s high temperatures will exceed 100° as far north as Kansas. Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms are helping to offset the effects of the heat in a few areas, mainly across the central and southern Plains.

In the South, a broken line of showers and thunderstorms stretches from central Texas to the southern Mid- Atlantic States. The rain is slowing fieldwork but benefiting pastures and immature summer crops. Across the Deep South, hot, dry weather is promoting fieldwork, including the early stages of the corn harvest.

In the West, mostly dry weather prevails during a lull in the monsoon. However, a few showers linger across the Desert Southwest. Meanwhile, the return of hot weather across much of the West is boosting irrigation demands but favors fieldwork and summer crop maturation.

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Cool, dry weather lingers in the Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather accompanies near- to below-normal temperatures. Conditions remain favorable for Midwestern pastures and summer crops, except in areas that have trended dry since early July and did not receive appreciable rainfall during a series of cold frontal passages from August 5-12.

On the Plains, building heat accompanies dry weather. Wednesday’s high temperatures could approach 100° as far north as Montana. The hot, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter and spring wheat harvesting on the northern Plains, but is increasing stress on rain-fed summer crops such as cotton.

In the South, cooler, drier air is arriving in the wake of a cold front’s passage. Corn harvesting is underway in the Deep South and by August 10 corn was 17% harvested in Texas; 6% harvested in Louisiana; and 2% harvested in Mississippi and Alabama. Warm, humid, showery conditions linger across much of Florida.

In the West, scattered showers are heaviest in western Washington and parts of Arizona. However, there is still an elevated risk of wildfire ignition and expansion across portions of the interior Northwest due to lightning strikes and gusty winds. Heat lingers in the northern Rockies, but cooler air is spreading inland across the Pacific Coast States.

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Patchy Midwestern Dryness of Minimal Concern

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers accompany a continuation of near- to below-normal temperatures. Patchy Midwestern dryness developed during July, but overall crop stress has been minimal due to a lack of heat and the ability of corn and soybeans to tap into soil moisture reserves that accumulated during a very wet June.

On the Plains, mostly dry weather prevails. However, cool conditions across the southern half of the region contrast with some of the warmest weather of the summer on the northern High Plains. The northern Plains’ warmth is promoting winter wheat harvesting and the growth of late-developing summer crops.

In the South, widespread showers stretch from the central Gulf Coast to the southern Atlantic States. Southeastern showers are slowing fieldwork but aiding pastures and summer crops, which have experienced varying degrees of stress in June and July due to pockets of dryness and a few episodes of hot weather.

In the West, heavy showers continue to provide drought relief but cause local flash flooding in the southern Rockies and environs. Elsewhere, isolated showers dot the Pacific Northwest, while unfavorably hot, dry weather persists from California into the central Great Basin and northern Rockies.

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Pockets of dryness in the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather and near- to below-normal temperatures remain mostly favorable for corn and soybeans. However, pockets of short-term dryness are becoming a concern in some areas, mainly across the western and southern Corn Belt. On July 27, topsoil moisture was rated 41% very short to short in Nebraska and 39% very short to short in Missouri.

On the Plains, rain has mostly subsided in Oklahoma and northern Texas, following a recent deluge. Parts of central and southeastern Oklahoma, as well as northeastern Texas, received 2 to 6 inches of rain in the last 24-hours, causing some flash flooding. Meanwhile, heat is overspreading the northern High Plains, including Montana, promoting winter wheat harvesting and the maturation of spring-sown small grains.

In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms are heaviest in the Arklatex region. Developing drought remains a concern in several areas of the Southeast. On July 27, for example, topsoil moisture was rated 51% very short to short in Kentucky, along with 44% in South Carolina, 33% in Virginia, and 32% in Georgia.

In the West, an active monsoon circulation continues to produce locally heavy showers in the southern Rockies and neighboring areas. In addition, isolated showers dot the Great Basin and Intermountain West. However, hot, dry weather continues to plague northern California and much of the Northwest, maintaining heavy irrigation demands and increasing stress on rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed summer crops.

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Cool pattern continues across the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cool weather continues to benefit reproductive to filling corn and soybeans. However, patchy dryness has developed across the Midwest during July, following near-record to record-setting June wetness. Still, at least half of the pastures are rated in good to excellent condition in every Midwestern State, while only Nebraska—at 16%—has more than one-tenth of its pastures rated very poor to poor.

On the Plains, locally heavy showers and thunderstorms are soaking the southern half of the region. The rain is providing additional drought relief but—on the central High Plains—causing some flash flooding. Meanwhile, cool, dry weather prevails on the northern Plains, where patchy dryness has developed in recent weeks.

In the South, dry weather accompanies unusually cool conditions. Pockets of short-term dryness cover western Kentucky and stretch from parts of Alabama, Georgia, and northern Florida into the southern Mid-Atlantic States. On July 27, nearly half (45%) of South Carolina’s pastures were rated very poor to poor.

In the West, record-breaking heat stretches from northern California to the northern Rockies. In addition, more than a dozen large wildfires in the Pacific Coast States are in various stages of containment. Elsewhere, previously heavy showers are gradually subsiding across the Four Corners States and Intermountain West.

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Mostly favorable weather conditions across the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, despite a recent drying trend, conditions remain mostly favorable for corn and soybeans. Specifically, many crops continue to thrive due to below-normal temperatures and adequate soil moisture.

In the South, heat lingers across the lower Southeast in advance of a cold front’s passage. Monday’s maximum temperatures will approach 100° from southern Alabama to the coastal plain of South Carolina. Meanwhile, cooler air is arriving across the interior Southeast, preceded by isolated showers and thunderstorms.

On the Plains, the interaction between a cold front and the monsoon circulation is resulting in heavy showers in an area centered on western Oklahoma and northern Texas. Heat lingers elsewhere in Texas. However, a return to cool weather on northern and central Plains is easing crop stress in the wake of the recent hot spell.

In the West, the National Weather Service has issued Flash Flood Watches for Monday across portions of the Great Basin, Desert Southwest, and Four Corners region due to ongoing heavy shower activity. In contrast, hot, dry weather has returned to the Northwest, where recovery efforts continue from a rash of wildfires.

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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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