Weather

Cooler air settles into much of the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, below-normal temperatures are favorable for reproductive to filling summer crops. A few rain showers are occurring west of the Mississippi River, but upper Midwestern corn and soybeans continue to experience varying degrees of drought stress. On July 25, at least one-fifth of the corn and soybeans were rated in very poor to poor condition in Minnesota and the Dakotas. On that date, North Dakota led the nation in very poor to poor ratings for corn (39%) and soybeans (41%).

On the Plains, the interaction between the Southwestern monsoon circulation and a weak cold front is generating some beneficial showers, especially in parts of South Dakota. Outside of the narrow strip of rainfall, hot, dry weather covers the remainder of the Plains. Agricultural drought impacts remain severe across northern areas (e.g. Montana and North Dakota), while recent heat and dryness have reduced topsoil moisture availability on the central and southern Plains.

In the South, an active weather pattern is maintaining abundant moisture reserves for most pastures and summer crops. Early Friday, some of the heaviest rain is falling in the Tennessee Valley and environs. Some of the hottest weather of the season has overspread the South in advance of a cold front, promoting crop development that has been slowed by cloudy, rainy weather. Friday’s high temperatures will approach 100°F in parts of the mid-South and Southeast.

In the West, scattered showers and thunderstorms extend northeastward from the Desert Southwest. The rain continues to provide limited short-term drought relief—but is having little impact on longer-term concerns such as low reservoir levels and groundwater shortages. Wildfire concerns persist in northern California and the Northwest; later Friday, lightning strikes could ignite new blazes, while heat and erratic winds could hamper containment efforts for existing fires.

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