Weather report: Hot and dry across the Plains, Corn Belt

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In the West, a plume of tropical moisture stretches from the Desert Southwest to Montana. Flash flooding remains a threat, particularly from southern California to Utah. Meanwhile, dry weather persists across northern California and the Northwest, where more than two dozen large wildfires are burning. The Rim fire, near Yosemite National Park in California, has blackened more than 160,000 acres and is only 20% contained.

On the Plains, hot, dry weather prevails, except for a few showers in Montana. Heat favors spring wheat maturation and harvesting on the northern Plains, but is stressing rain-fed crops on the southern High Plains.

In the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms remain active in the Great Lakes region, but most Midwestern locations are experiencing hot, dry weather. Monday’s high temperatures topped 95°F in many areas west of the Mississippi River, and will do so again today. On August 25, one-fifth of the soybeans in Iowa and North Dakota were rated very poor to poor, tops in the U.S. and well above the national average of 13%.

In the South, drought-easing showers continue in the western Gulf Coast region. In contrast, favorably dry weather prevails in the Southeast, except for lingering showers in southern Florida. On August 25, Florida and Georgia led the nation with topsoil moisture rated 36% surplus. Due to ongoing issues with wetness, more than one-tenth of the peanuts were rated very poor to poor on August 25 in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

Outlook: For the remainder of the week, areas between the Rockies and Appalachians will continue to experience a late-season heat wave. In areas with limited soil moisture, including much of the Midwest, the heat will adversely affect crops in the filling stage of development. Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms will continue to rotate clockwise around a ridge of high pressure parked over the nation’s mid-section. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches, with locally higher amounts, in the Southwest and from North Dakota to the central Appalachians. After mid-week, showers will arrive in the Pacific Northwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for September 1-5 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and rainfall across much of the nation. In fact, near-normal temperatures will be confined to the West and Northeast, while drier-than-normal conditions will be limited to the south-central U.S.

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