Heat wave conditions intensifying, expanding across the Nation’s mid-section
Across the Corn Belt, air quality remains locally unhealthy, especially in the vicinity of Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, building heat in the western Corn Belt will broadly boost temperatures later Wednesday into the range of 95 to 100°F, extending as far east as the Mississippi Valley. The heat is stressing corn and soybeans, mainly in areas where drought exists. On July 23, topsoil moisture was rated more than one-half very short to short in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Early today, however, thunderstorms are providing limited drought relief in the upper Midwest.
On the Plains, hot, mostly dry weather favors a rapid pace of crop development, including barley and spring wheat maturation. In addition, heat is promoting winter wheat harvesting where crops remain in the field—mostly in the northwestern half of the Plains. Later Wednesday, temperatures will broadly approach or reach 100°F from South Dakota to Texas.
In the South, hot, humid weather remains in place, with significant shower activity confined to Florida’s peninsula. Although most pastures and summer crops remain in good shape, some stress has developed—especially in the western Gulf Coast region—due to a protracted spell of hotter- and drier-than-normal weather.
In the West, a cooling trend has commenced from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Hot weather prevails across the remainder of the region, with temperatures again expected to top 110°F in lower elevations of the Desert Southwest. Showers associated with the Southwestern monsoon circulation remain widely scattered and generally confined to Wyoming and the Four Corners States.