Storminess sweeps the upper Midwest


Storminess sweeps the upper Midwest

Across the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are pounding the upper Midwest, delivering drought relief but causing localized wind and hail damage. Parts of the northwestern Corn Belt also experienced severe thunderstorms on Thursday, when official wind gusts were clocked to 78 mph in Benson, Minnesota, and 75 mph in Watertown, South Dakota. Meanwhile, hot, dry weather in the southern Corn Belt continues to push summer crops toward maturity.

On the Plains, drought-easing showers across the northern half of the region are heaviest in the eastern Dakotas. Although the showers are improving topsoil moisture and helping to revive pastures, rain is too late for many summer crops. On August 22, approximately one-half of North Dakota’s corn (48%) and soybeans (52%) were rated in very poor to poor condition. Farther south, parts of Kansas could experience a fifth consecutive day of 100-degree heat.

In the South, well in advance of Tropical Storm Ida, showers and thunderstorms are active over the northern Gulf of Mexico and beginning to drift ashore. For most interior sections of the South, hot, dry weather favors late-summer fieldwork. In fact, Mississippi Delta producers potentially in Ida’s path are attempting to complete storm preparations, including corn and rice harvesting, where possible.

In the West, blazing heat has returned across the Desert Southwest, where Friday’s high temperatures will locally exceed 115°F. Hot weather is also developing across California and the Great Basin. Meanwhile, poor air quality and smoky conditions persist downwind of wildfires actively burning in northern California and the Northwest.