Stressful heat continues on the Plains, parts of the Corn Belt
Across the Corn Belt, stressful heat (high temperatures of 95°F or greater) for summer crops prevails primarily southwest of a line from central South Dakota to southern Illinois, including Nebraska and much of Missouri. Early today, any shower activity is generally light and confined to the western Corn Belt. Patchy drought in the eastern Corn Belt led to less than one-half the corn being rated in good to excellent condition on July 17 in Ohio and Indiana.
On the Plains, hot weather persists, despite variable cloudiness and isolated showers. Friday’s high temperatures could reach 100°F or higher as far north as southeastern Montana. The northern Plains’ heat is accelerating crop development, following widespread spring planting delays. Farther south, however, ongoing heat continues to stress a variety of rain-fed and irrigated crops, including corn, cotton, and sorghum. On July 17, good to excellent ratings for U.S. cotton (38%) and sorghum (35%) were far below the values—60 and 68%, respectively—at the same time a year ago.
In the South, hot, humid weather remains in place, although the most extreme heat is concentrated over the western Gulf Coast region and the mid-South. In a few areas, including the central Gulf Coast region, thundershowers are providing limited relief from the heat. Arkansas led the region on July 17 with 62% of its rangeland and pastures rated in very poor to poor condition, up from 46% a week ago, reflecting rapidly intensifying short-term drought.
In the West, hot, mostly dry weather continues. The Southwestern monsoon circulation remains temporarily disrupted, with meaningful rainfall occurring mostly south of the Four Corners States. An elevated wildfire threat exists across portions of the northern Rockies and northern Intermountain West, amid hot, dry, breezy conditions. The Moose Fire, burning north of Salmon, Idaho, has charred more than 20,000 acres of timber, brush, and grass.