In the West, mostly dry weather favors fieldwork, including initial Northwestern winter wheat harvesting. Below-normal temperatures in California and the Great Basin contrast with hotter-than-normal conditions in the northern Rockies and the Northwest.

On the Plains, searing heat continues to wither pastures and both rain-fed and irrigated summer crops. On the northern Plains, hot weather is promoting winter wheat harvesting and hastening the maturation of spring-sown small grains. Widespread highs of 100 to 105°F will occur later today on the northern and central Plains.

In the Corn Belt, cooler weather prevails in the Great Lakes region. However, hot conditions persist across southern and western portions of the Midwest, including the Missouri and Ohio Valleys. Across the eastern Corn Belt, Wednesday’s thundershowers provided only limited and localized drought relief.

In the South, hot weather prevails. Drought continues to adversely affect many pastures and summer crops in the Mid-South (e.g. Arkansas), but beneficial showers dot the Southeast.

Outlook: During the next few days, somewhat cooler air will cover roughly the eastern one-third of the U.S. Widespread showers and thunderstorms will accompany the slightly cooler conditions in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern States. Across the central one-third of the U.S., blazing heat and mostly dry conditions will persist, except for some weekend showers in the upper Midwest. At times, temperatures could approach 110°F across the nation’s mid-section. Elsewhere, a gradual warming trend will affect much of the West, where isolated showers will be largely confined to the Four Corners States and the Pacific Northwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 24-28 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and near- to below-normal rainfall virtually nationwide. Coolerthan- normal conditions will be limited to areas along the Pacific Coast, while wetter-than-normal weather will be confined to the upper Great Lakes region and portions of the Four Corners States.