Weather report: Rain provides drought relief in the Plains

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In the West, flash flood watches are in effect for southeastern Arizona and parts of southern New Mexico for the possibility of heavy showers. Elsewhere, hot weather accompanies widely scattered thundershowers. Breezy conditions and lightning strikes are a concern in some areas with respect to wildfire ignition.

On the Plains, a flash flood watch remains in effect in western and central Texas, where showers continue. However, rain is also providing relief to drought-stressed rangeland, pastures, and summer crops. In contrast, dry weather prevails on the northern and central Plains. Short-term dryness is a concern on the central Plains, where Kansas corn rated very poor to poor increased from 14 to 22% during the week ending July 14.

In the Corn Belt, very warm, dry weather prevails. In the southwestern Corn Belt, short-term dryness is increasing stress on summer crops, some of which have entered reproduction. By July 14, approximately one-seventh of the corn was rated very poor to poor in Missouri (14%) and Iowa (13%).

In the South, favorably drier weather prevails in the southern Atlantic States. In contrast, short-term dryness is increasing crop stress in the Mid-South. In Arkansas, for example, the portion of crops rated very poor to poor on July 14 included 17% of the soybeans—highest in the nation—and 23% of the pastures.

Outlook: Hot weather will persist for the next several days in most areas from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic Seaboard. During the weekend, however, markedly cooler air will overspread the Midwest and Northeast. Elsewhere, hot conditions will further intensify in the Northwest, while relatively cool, showery weather will prevail in the Southwest. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 2 inches, with locally higher amounts, from the Four Corners States into Texas. Similar rainfall totals can be expected across Florida’s peninsula, the Appalachians, and from the Great Lakes States into the Northeast. Strong thunderstorms may occur across the Great Lakes and Northeastern States on July 19-20. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 21-25 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and rainfall across the majority of the U.S. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to southernmost Florida and southern sections of the Rockies and Plains, while drier-than-normal weather will be confined to the northern High Plains and the Northwest.

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