In the West, an active monsoon pattern features scattered showers from the Desert Southwest to the interior Northwest. Heat lingers across the northern half of the region, where numerous large wildfires are in various stages of containment.

On the Plains, hot, mostly dry weather is maintaining stress on both rain-fed and irrigated summer crops. Across the northern Plains, heat is also promoting winter wheat maturation.

In the Corn Belt, scattered but highly beneficial shower activity is occurring across the upper Mississippi Valley. Meanwhile, cloudy weather prevails along the Ohio River. Across the remainder of the Midwest, extremely dry conditions and near- to above-normal temperatures are maintaining severe stress on reproductive summer crops.

In the South, widespread cloudiness and scattered showers accompany near- to below-normal temperatures. Drought-easing showers are heaviest across parts of the interior Southeast, including eastern Kentucky.

Outlook: During the weekend and early next week, heat will persist on the Plains and intensify across much of the East and Midwest. Several days of 100-degree heat can be expected on the central Plains, and triple-digit readings may briefly return to the upper Midwest. During the next 5 days, little or no rain can be expected on the Plains and across the driest areas of the southern and eastern Corn Belt. Meanwhile, scattered showers will affect the Intermountain West and the upper Midwest. Across the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, additional rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 18-22 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions along the Pacific Coast. Elsewhere, a complex rainfall pattern will result in the likelihood of above-normal rainfall in several areas, including the Pacific Northwest, southern Rockies, western Gulf Coast region, and Great Lakes and Eastern States, while drier-thannormal weather can be expected across the northern half of the Plains and from California into the Great Basin.