Weather report: Overnight showers provided relief to Plains

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In the West, monsoon showers have become generally lighter and less widespread, but linger from southern California to the southern Rockies. Meanwhile, hot, dry weather continues to promote Northwestern winter wheat maturation and harvesting. On July 21, the winter wheat harvest was on par with the 5-year average in Oregon (17% complete) and Idaho (2% complete).

On the Plains, overnight thunderstorms dropped as much as 2 to 5 inches of rain in central and southwestern Oklahoma and environs. Although the downpours have caused some flash flooding, rain is generally beneficial for rangeland, pastures, and summer crops. Meanwhile, very cool air is settling across the northern Plains. Temperatures fell below 50°F this morning in parts of eastern Montana and the Dakotas.

In the Corn Belt, a broken band of shower activity stretches from the Great Lakes region into the lower Missouri Valley. The rain is providing some relief from short-term dryness in the southwestern Corn Belt. Cool air trails the showers into the upper Midwest, where today’s lows ranged from 50 to 60°F.

In the South, showers and thunderstorms linger across Florida’s peninsula. Meanwhile, favorably dry weather prevails in the waterlogged Southeast, where numerous July rainfall records have already been broken.

Outlook: A strong cold front currently draped across the Plains and Midwest will sweep eastward to the Atlantic Seaboard by July 21. Thundershowers will precede and accompany the cold front, with rainfall totals approaching an inch in the Midwest and East. Somewhat heavier rain, 1 to 3 inches, can be expected later today in parts of the Mid-South. Early next week, heavy showers will develop across parts of the central Plains and spread eastward into the lower Ohio Valley. Elsewhere, unusually cool weather will prevail across the Plains and Midwest into next week, while near- to above-normal temperatures will be confined to the Northwest and the Deep South. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 31 – August 4 calls for below-normal temperatures across much of the nation’s northern tier, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in coastal New England and central and southern sections of the Rockies and Plains. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall in a broad area stretching from Oregon to Texas will contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across the northern Plains, upper Midwest, and Atlantic Coast States.

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