Mild to seasonally warm weather across the Heartland; a few showers north
In the Corn Belt, warm, mostly dry weather favors corn and soybean development, although some immature crops would still benefit from a boost in soil moisture. On August 21, Nebraska led the Corn Belt with topsoil moisture rated 79% very short to short, followed by South Dakota (57%), Iowa (48%), and Missouri (43%). Early Wednesday, isolated showers are overspreading the upper Midwest.
On the Plains, isolated showers in Montana and the Dakotas are causing only minor harvest delays. Warm, dry weather prevails across the central Plains, while some cloudiness lingers across the southern Plains. As the growing season starts to wind down, cotton and sorghum are among the crops across the central and southern Plains most severely affected by drought. On August 21, U.S. cotton and sorghum were both rated 40% in very poor to poor condition, compared with 6 and 10%, respectively, at the same time a year ago.
In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms stretch from southern Texas to the southern Atlantic Coast. Early Wednesday, some of the heaviest rain is falling in the lower Mississippi Valley and environs, where flash flooding remains a threat. Meanwhile, dry weather has returned across recently flood-affected areas of northeastern Texas.
In the West, unusual warmth continues across much of California, the Great Basin, and the Northwest. For small grains such as barley and spring wheat, Northwestern warmth favors crop maturation and harvesting. However, moisture will soon be needed during the upcoming Northwestern winter wheat planting season; by August 21, topsoil moisture was rated 59% very short to short in Washington, along with 57% in Oregon. Elsewhere, monsoon-related rain has waned, although patchy heavy showers linger primarily in the Desert Southwest.