Scattered, locally heavy rains across parts of the Plains, southern Corn Belt


Scattered, locally heavy rains across parts of the Plains, southern Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, another round of heavy rain is occurring today across the southern tier of the region, where lowland flooding remains a threat.  Northwest of St. Louis, Dardenne Creek in St. Peters, Missouri, crested on Tuesday more than 5.5 feet above flood stage, marking the highest water level in that location since December 2015.  Other areas of the Midwest are experiencing spotty showers and below-normal temperatures, favoring reproductive to filling summer crops.

On the Plains, a cold front draped across Kansas separates hot and pleasant conditions.  On the northern Plains, mild, mostly dry weather favors winter wheat harvesting and summer crop development.  Meanwhile, extreme heat and worsening drought conditions continue to plague much of Oklahoma and Texas.  In Texas, where topsoil moisture is rated 90% very short to short and rangeland and pastures are rated 89% very poor to poor, locations such as Del Rio and San Angelo have reported 23 consecutive days (July 4-26) with a high temperature of 100°F or greater.  Meanwhile, Laredo, Texas, last reported measurable rain on May 25, more than 2 months ago.

In the South, hot, humid weather persists.  Intense heat and acutely dry conditions remain most critical from the western Gulf Coast region into the mid-South, with mounting impacts on pastures and rain-fed summer crops.  On July 24, topsoil moisture was rated more than one-half very short to short as far east as Mississippi (64%), Tennessee (63%), and Kentucky (56%).  On the same date, Arkansas led the region with topsoil moisture rated 91% very short to short.

In the West, an increasing Northwestern wildfire threat exists amid hot, dry conditions, low humidity levels, gusty winds, and possible lightning strikes.  One of the most problematic active Northwestern wildfires, north of Salmon, Idaho, is the Moose Fire, which has charred more than 37,000 acres of vegetation since being ignited on July 17.  Meanwhile, the Southwestern monsoon circulation remains active, with thundershowers dotting the Four Corners States.