In the West, cool conditions persist in the Pacific Coast States. In the Northwest, scattered showers are slowing initial winter wheat harvest efforts.

On the Plains, blazing heat continues to severely stress pastures and both rain-fed and irrigated summer crops. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 100°F in a broad area stretching from Texas to South Dakota. Slightly cooler air and a few showers are arriving across the northernmost Plains.

In the Corn Belt, favorably cooler weather prevails, although heat lingers across westernmost areas. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a record-setting streak of highs of 90°F or greater has ended at 22 consecutive days (June 27 – July 18). In addition, drought-stressed crops in parts of the northern and eastern Corn Belt are benefiting from recent topsoil moisture improvements, but much more rain is needed. Currently, a few showers are returning to the far upper Midwest, including the eastern Dakotas.

In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms stretch from the central Gulf Coast into the Tennessee Valley. The rain is aiding later-planted summer crops and helping to revive pastures. However, the Mid- South—including much of Arkansas—remains extremely dry.

Outlook: Record-setting, triple-digit heat will persist well into next week across the central and southern Plains. In addition, hot weather will again spread eastward, eventually returning to the southern and eastern Corn Belt and the Mid-South. During the next 5 days, minimal rain will fall across the central and southern Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley. There will be some occasional showers, however, across the northern and eastern Corn Belt, although most totals will be less than an inch. More substantial rainfall (locally 2 to 5 inches) will be confined to the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. A few locally heavy showers (as much as 1 to 2 inches) will also occur from the Four Corners States to the northern Plains. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 25-29 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and near- to below-normal rainfall virtually nationwide. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to areas along the Pacific Coast, while wetter-than-normal weather will be confined to the upper Great Lakes region and portions of the Four Corners States.