Dryness, drought northern Plains, western Corn Belt
Across the Corn Belt, unusually cool weather is slowing crop development, despite mostly sunny skies. In addition, pockets of dryness and drought are affecting some areas, primarily west of the Mississippi River. In Iowa, topsoil moisture was rated 56% very short to short on August 6.
On the Plains, cool weather prevails. Soil moisture shortages remain particularly acute on the northern Plains. On August 6, topsoil moisture was rated at least two-thirds very short to short in Montana (97% very short to short), South Dakota (73%), and North Dakota (67%). On the same date, North Dakota led the nation in rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor (78%), followed by Montana (68%) and South Dakota (67%).
In the South, a band of rain stretches from the southern Mid-Atlantic States to the western Gulf Coast region. Southern growing conditions remain mostly favorable, although rain is causing some fieldwork delays.
In the West, hot, hazy, smoky conditions persist from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. In addition, afternoon lightning strikes could spark new Northwestern wildfires. Elsewhere, hot weather is returning to the Southwest, while showers associated with the monsoon circulation are most numerous across the Intermountain West and the central and southern Rockies.
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