In the West, the monsoon circulation continues to generate isolated showers, mainly from Arizona into the Intermountain region. Near- or slightly below-normal temperatures cover most of the West.
On the Plains, showers associated with a cold front signal a transition to cooler weather across northern areas. Farther south, dry weather and crop-withering temperatures persist on the central and southern Plains. On July 22, nearly all of the topsoil moisture was rated very short to short in Oklahoma (96%), Nebraska (95%), Kansas (95%), Colorado (87%), and South Dakota (87%).
In the Corn Belt, another day of crop-damaging heat is underway across the southern half of the region. On Monday, high temperatures soared to 102°F in Indianapolis, Indiana, and 105°F in locations such as Des Moines, Iowa, and Quincy, Illinois. On July 22, virtually all of the topsoil moisture was rated very short to short in Missouri and Illinois (both 99%), along with Iowa (97%), Nebraska (95%), Indiana (93%), and Ohio (90%). Currently, a band of beneficial but locally severe thunderstorms stretches from the Dakotas to Ohio.
In the South, hot, mostly dry weather prevails. Isolated showers are generally confined to areas along the Gulf Coast. The focus for agricultural drought remains the Mid-South, including Arkansas, where topsoil moisture was rated 85% very short to short on July 22.
Outlook: Across the Plains and Midwest, a cold front’s passage will provide significant mid- to late-week relief from extreme heat. In fact, below-normal temperatures can be expected across the northern Plains on July 25-26 and much of the Midwest on July 27-28. During the weekend, however, heat will begin to “reload” across the Plains. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches, with locally higher amounts, across the northern and eastern Corn Belt. However, only light showers will occur across the central and southern Plains and the southwestern Corn Belt. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 29 – August 2 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions along the Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal rainfall across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in parts of the Four Corners States and from the lower Great Lakes region into New England.