Fair weather across the Heartland; temps vary
Across the Corn Belt, crops continue to mature at a faster-than-normal pace, amid dry conditions. For example, 74% of the U.S. corn crop was fully mature on September 26, versus the 5-year average of 64%. Currently, cool weather in the Great Lakes region contrasts with summer-like warmth in much of the southern and western Corn Belt. Tuesday’s Midwestern high temperatures should range from near 70°F in Michigan to 90°F or higher in the southwestern Corn Belt.
On the Plains, unusually hot weather prevails, except in western and central Montana. Tuesday’s high temperatures will exceed the 90-degree mark as far north as eastern Montana and the Dakotas. Topsoil moisture remains limited for germination and growth of recently planted winter wheat; on September 26, statewide values ranged from 49% very short to short in Nebraska to 98% in Montana.
In the South, showers and a few thunderstorms are returning across the western half of the Gulf Coast region. Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is promoting summer crop maturation and harvesting. In many areas, however, harvesting has been slightly delayed by the region’s cool, rainy summer, which slowed crop development. On September 26, sixty-one percent of the U.S. rice and ten percent of the peanuts had been harvested, compared to respective 5-year averages of 66 and 16%.
In the West, markedly cooler conditions are developing. In addition, widespread showers are occurring in the Northwest, while widely scattered showers dot the Southwest. However, prior to this pattern change, drought covered 90% of the 11- state Western region on September 21, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, with coverage exceeding 80% each week since late April. More than half of the West has been in extreme or exceptional drought (D3 or D4) since late June.