Weather report: Isolated showers come ot the Plains

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In the West, the monsoon circulation continues to generate scattered showers and provide local drought relief, primarily from southern Arizona to eastern Colorado. Elsewhere, hot, dry weather is promoting winter wheat maturation and summer crop growth, but maintaining heavy irrigation demands.

On the Plains, isolated showers are confined to central portions of the region. Cooler air is overspreading Nebraska and the Dakotas, but hot conditions continue across the southern half of the Plains. Rain-fed crops continue to experience stress on the drought-affected southern High Plains, where more than one-third of the cotton was rated in very poor to poor condition on July 7 in Texas (38%) and Oklahoma (37%).

In the Corn Belt, a return to sunny weather is promoting a rapid pace of crop development. Meanwhile, the last in a series of disturbances is crossing the southern and eastern Corn Belt, generating some lingering showers.

In the South, a recent drying trend is gradually increasing stress on pastures and rain-fed summer crops from the western Gulf Coast region to the lower Mississippi Valley. In contrast, showery, humid conditions persist across the well-watered Southeast. On July 7, only 39% of the pastures were rated in good to excellent condition in Arkansas, compared to at least 75% in every Southeastern State.

Outlook: A brief surge of cooler air will affect the Midwest and East, followed by a return to warm, humid conditions during the weekend. Similarly, cooler air will briefly arrive in the West, while late-week heat will expand across the nation’s mid-section. Meanwhile, showery conditions will persist in parts of the Southeast, where 1 to 2 inches of additional rain can be expected. Heavy rain (2 to 4 inches or more) may occur along the southern Atlantic Coast, in part due to the late-week and weekend approach and passage of Tropical Storm Chantal or its remnant moisture. Elsewhere, showers will continue in the Four Corners region and by week’s end will return to the upper Midwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 15-19 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and rainfall across the majority of the U.S. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be confined to the southern Rockies and the Southeast, while drier-than-normal weather will be limited to the central Plains, northern Rockies, and Pacific Coast States.

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