Storms north while Drought covers the eastern Corn Belt


Storms north while Drought covers the eastern Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are active early Friday from Minnesota to Michigan, generally benefiting immature summer crops. However, a strip of dryness—stretching from Iowa to Ohio but including portions of neighboring states—continues to adversely affect some corn and soybeans. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, approximately 13% of the Midwest (but 61% of Iowa) is experiencing drought.

On the Plains, strong thunderstorms swept across South Dakota and portions of neighboring states last night, causing localized wind damage. Dry weather is returning early Friday across the northern Plains, allowing small grain harvest activities to resume as fields begin to dry out. Farther south, hot weather on the southern High Plains is promoting fieldwork but maintaining stress on rangeland, pastures, and immature summer crops.

In the South, recovery efforts are underway in southwestern Louisiana, following the devastating impacts of a category 4 hurricane. Lake Charles, Louisiana, where wind gusts exceeded 130 mph before instrumentation failed, was the largest near-coastal city in the direct path of Hurricane Laura. Early Friday, Laura is a tropical depression centered near the Arkansas-Missouri border. Laura is embedded within a larger area of clouds and showers covering the Southeast.

In the West, mostly dry weather accompanies near- or above-normal temperatures. Although the Western wildfire situation has slightly improved, more than seven dozen large fires—in various stage of containment—remain active. Three of California’s wildfires, the LNU, SCU, and CZU Lightning Complexes, have collectively charred more than 800,000 acres of vegetation and have destroyed at least 1,700 structures.