In the West, hot weather prevails, except in the southern Rockies and along the immediate Pacific Coast. Monsoon showers accompany the relatively cool conditions in New Mexico. The heat is promoting fieldwork and crop development, including Northwestern winter wheat maturation.

On the Plains, beneficial showers linger across southern portions of the region. Farther north, unfavorably dry weather has returned to the central Plains. Meanwhile, hot weather on the northern High Plains favors winter wheat maturation and harvesting, but is increasing stress on spring-sown small grains. On July 8, USDA/NASS rated topsoil moisture 94% very short to short in Oklahoma, along with 88% in Kansas and 86% in Nebraska.

In the Corn Belt, temperatures have fallen to near- or slightly below-normal levels, but extremely dry conditions persist. On July 8, USDA/NASS rated at least two-thirds of the topsoil moisture very short to short in all Midwestern States except North Dakota and Minnesota. Nearly all (97%) of the topsoil moisture was very short to short in Missouri and Indiana, closely followed by Illinois (96%), Iowa (88%), and Ohio (88%).

In the South, locally heavy showers are occurring in the western Gulf Coast region, in the vicinity of Florida’s west coast, and from portions of Kentucky and Tennessee into the southern Mid-Atlantic States. However, hot weather lingers across parts of the lower Southeast, including Georgia.

Outlook: For the remainder of the week, hot weather will be further suppressed in the Southeast but will persist on the northern High Plains. Above-normal temperatures will also cover much of the West, especially northern areas. Elsewhere, monsoon showers will dot the Southwest, while the late-week passage of a cold front will spark showers on the northern Plains. However, the most significant rain will fall in the Southeast, where as much as 2 to 6 inches of rain will provide substantial drought relief. Toward week’s end, much-needed rain may spread as far north as the Ohio Valley and the eastern Corn Belt. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 15-19 calls for above-normal temperatures across the northern two-thirds of the nation, while cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the south-central U.S. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal rainfall across the majority of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather from the western Gulf Coast region into the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic States.