Sct’d storms as temperatures vary greatly northeast to southwest across the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, below-normal temperatures favor summer crop development, although hazy conditions from Canadian forest fires linger in some areas.  Early Tuesday, thunderstorms are moving across parts of the western Corn Belt, helping to ease pockets of remaining dryness.  On July 16, Missouri led the Midwest with topsoil moisture rated 75% very short to short, followed by Wisconsin at 57% and Minnesota at 54%.

On the Plains, overnight thunderstorms were heaviest across central portions of the region.  Relatively cool weather prevails across the northern half of the Plains, where Tuesday’s high temperatures will remain mostly below 90°F.  In stark contrast, scorching heat continues across Texas, with 100-degree maximum temperatures extending as far north as southern Kansas.  On July 16, Texas led the Plains with topsoil moisture rated 66% very short to short. 

In the South, hot, humid weather prevails.  Tuesday’s high temperatures will range from 90 to 95°F in much of the Southeast—but will top 100°F in many locations west of the Mississippi Delta.  Drought has begun to develop in the western Gulf Coast region, amid a month-long spell of hot, mostly dry weather. 

In the West, minimal rainfall accompanies mostly above-normal temperatures.  On Monday, Phoenix, Arizona, tied a station record, posting its 18th consecutive day with a high temperature of 110°F or greater.  Farther north, however, slightly cooler air is arriving in the Pacific Northwest.  Despite the cooler weather, Washington led the western U.S. on July 16 with topsoil moisture rated 76% very short to short, followed by Oregon at 66%. 

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