Cooler, drier air settles into the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather prevails. The growing season continues to wind down, with 21% of the U.S. corn fully mature and 18% of the soybeans dropping leaves by September 5. Crop maturation has been accelerated by drought in parts of the western Corn Belt; on September 5, North Dakota led the nation (among major production states) with 44% of its soybeans dropping leaves, versus the 5-year average of 31%.
On the Plains, slightly cooler weather prevails in the wake of a cold front’s passage. Wednesday’s high temperatures will remain mostly below 90°F, except in parts of Texas, where heat lingers. With winter wheat planting underway, rain will be needed soon across portions of the southern Plains to promote crop emergence and establishment. On September 5, USDA/NASS rated topsoil moisture approximately one-half very short to short in Colorado (53%), Oklahoma (52%), and Texas (48%). On the same date, Colorado led the Plains with 22% of its intended winter wheat acreage planted.
In the South, shower activity is increasing across the eastern half of the Gulf Coast region, as a disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico drifts northeastward. Elsewhere, hot, humid weather persists in hurricane-recovery areas of eastern Louisiana, while pleasant conditions (high temperatures below 90°F) cover interior sections of the South.
In the West, precipitation is confined to the Pacific Northwest, where a few showers are occurring. Meanwhile, a late-season heat wave will again boost temperatures to 100°F or higher as far north as California’s Central Valley. Across the interior Northwest, an elevated wildfire threat exists amid dry, breezy conditions and low humidity levels. Containment of the year’s largest wildfire—northern California’s 919,000-acre Dixie Fire—has increased to nearly 60%.