Weather report: Late-summer heat dominates across the U.S.

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In the West, monsoon shower activity is widely scattered. In addition, hot weather persists, except along the Pacific Coast. On August 18, California led the U.S. with 95% of its rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor, followed by Arizona (67%), Nevada (67%), New Mexico (64%), Colorado (50%), and Oregon (50%). Dozens of large wildfires continue to burn, especially across northern California and the interior Northwest.

On the Plains, hot, dry weather is promoting fieldwork and crop development. Most of the nation’s midsection has received appreciable rainfall in recent weeks, but for those areas with lingering soil moisture shortages—including the southern High Plains—heat is stressing rain-fed summer crops.

In the Corn Belt
, heat continues to arrive from the north and west. Today’s high temperatures will exceed 90°F in the westernmost Corn Belt, fostering the development of late-planted corn and soybeans. Diminishing topsoil moisture remains a concern for summer crops; Iowa led the nation with 17% of its soybeans rated very poor to poor on August 18, while Missouri led the Midwest with 20% of its corn rated very poor to poor.

In the South, unsettled weather continues. Clouds and a few showers are most prevalent in the soggy Southeast, although some rain is also falling along the Gulf Coast. Cotton bolls are beginning to open in the Southeast and will soon require drier weather to prevent degradations in crop quality.

Outlook: Late-summer heat will dominate much of the nation for the remainder of the week. Cool conditions will linger, however, in the Southeast and along the Pacific Coast. Toward week’s end, cooler weather will return to the Midwest and Northeast and begin to spread inland across the West. Meanwhile, additional rainfall could total 1 to 2 inches in the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast. Showers will become more numerous across the West and upper Midwest, with some locations receiving more than an inch of rain. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 25-29 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, with the greatest likelihood of hot weather stretching from the northern Intermountain West into the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, near- to above-normal rainfall in the majority of the U.S. will contrast with drier-than-normal weather across the southern Plains and the Pacific Northwest.

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