Seasonal pattern covers much of the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are currently confined to the upper Great Lakes region. Elsewhere, dry weather favors summer crop maturation. By September 12, more than one-third (37%) of the U.S. corn was fully mature, while 38% of the soybeans were dropping leaves, versus respective 5-year averages of 31 and 29%.
On the Plains, scattered showers are occurring early Tuesday from South Dakota to Kansas, slowing fieldwork but locally improving soil moisture. On September 12, topsoil moisture was rated at least one-half very short to short throughout the Plains, except in Nebraska (39% very short to short) and Kansas (45%). Meanwhile, hot, dry weather persists on the southern Plains; topsoil moisture rated very short to short in Texas increased from 48 to 59% in the last week.
In the South, Tropical Storm Nicholas has moved inland and is weakening across coastal Texas, although heavy showers continue. Upon making landfall on the Matagorda Peninsula at 12:30 am CDT, Nicholas was a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds near 75 mph. Early Tuesday, lowland flooding is occurring along the Gulf Coast as far east as southern Louisiana. Farther inland, short-term dryness has developed in several areas, including the mid-South. On September 12, Arkansas led the region with topsoil moisture rated 69% very short to short.
In the West, dry weather is promoting fieldwork, including Northwestern winter wheat planting, Southwestern cotton harvesting, and California’s rice harvest. Despite lack of soil moisture, Washington led the nation on September 12 with 53% of its intended winter wheat acreage planted, versus the 5-year average of 32%.