Weather report: Hot weather spurs crop growth in the Corn Belt

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In the West, drought-easing showers continue across the southern tier of the region. However, flash flooding remains a threat in southern New Mexico. Elsewhere, a few showers have broken out across the Northwest.

On the Plains, drought-easing rain is heaviest across western Texas, where flash flooding remains a concern. Rangeland, pastures, and summer crops—including cotton—are benefiting from the southern Plains’ rain. Meanwhile, dry weather favors fieldwork and crop development on the northern Plains.

In the Corn Belt, hot, dry weather favors a rapid crop development pace. Today’s high temperatures will range from 90 to 95°F—accompanied by humid conditions—across the majority of the Midwest, prompting the issuance of heat advisories. In the southwestern Corn Belt—including parts of Iowa, Missouri, and southeastern Nebraska—short-term dryness and hot conditions are increasing stress on reproductive summer crops.

In the South, showers are returning to parts of the well-watered southern Atlantic States, with the heaviest rain occurring across southern Florida. Meanwhile, short-term dryness continues to expand and intensify across the Mid-South. On July 14, USDA rated topsoil moisture 68% very short to short in Arkansas. Dryness has also been a concern in the western Gulf Coast region, but showers are currently providing local relief.

Outlook: The Northeast’s first significant heat wave of the year will continue through Saturday, with relief expected thereafter. Cooler air will also overspread the Midwest during the weekend. However, strong thunderstorms will precede and accompany the transition to cooler weather across the Great Lakes and Northeastern States from July 18-20. Meanwhile, a disturbance will continue to drift westward across the Southwest, generating heavy showers. Additional rainfall could reach at least 1 to 2 inches in western Texas and the Four Corners States. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather will prevail from the Pacific Coast to the northern Rockies, while little or no rain will fall across the central Plains and southwestern Corn Belt. In the Northwest, building heat will accompany mostly dry weather. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 22-26 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and rainfall across the majority of the U.S. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to southern Florida, the Rio Grande Valley, and the Northeast, while drier-than-normal weather will be confined to the High Plains and the Northwest.

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