Mild to warm, dry weather across the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, dry weather favors corn and soybean development, except in areas where soil moisture is lacking. On June 20, topsoil moisture was rated more than one-half very short to short in five upper Midwestern States: South Dakota (88%), North Dakota (72%), Minnesota (72%), Iowa (64%), and Wisconsin (53%). During the 2-week period ending June 20, U.S. corn rated good to excellent fell from 72 to 65%, while soybeans rated good to excellent fell from 67 to 60%.
On the Plains, warm, dry weather in drought-affected northern areas (e.g. Montana and the Dakotas) is further stressing rangeland, pastures, winter wheat, and spring-sown crops. On June 20 in North Dakota, very poor to poor ratings were noted for one- to two-thirds of the rangeland and pastures (66%); barley (50%), spring wheat (50%) oats (37%), and soybeans (35%). Farther south, dry weather is promoting an acceleration of the previously delayed winter wheat harvest.
In the South, showers and thunderstorms continue from the Appalachians eastward to the Atlantic Coast. A separate area of locally heavy rain is occurring in the western Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, favorably drier air is overspreading some of the region’s wettest areas; on June 20, topsoil moisture was rated more than one-quarter surplus in Alabama (41%), Mississippi (27%), and Louisiana (26%), following the passage of Tropical Storm Claudette and earlier heavy rain.
In the West, record-setting heat is shifting into parts of the Northwest, while near- or above-normal temperatures persist across the remainder of the region. On June 20, rangeland and pastures were rated at least one-half very poor to poor in eight Western States, led by Arizona (90%), Utah (75%), and Washington (71%). In addition, Washington led the U.S. on that date with very poor to poor ratings for 66% of its spring wheat and 58% of its barley.