In the West, showers are providing local drought relief in the Four Corners States and the Intermountain region. Favorably cooler weather prevails, following the record-setting heat of late June and early July.
On the Plains, hot weather continues to provide mixed results. On the northern Plains, mostly dry weather and above-normal temperatures are generally favorable for summer crop development and winter wheat maturation and harvesting. Farther south, however, today’s high temperatures will exceed 100°F in many areas from Nebraska to Texas, increasing stress on rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed summer crops.
In the Corn Belt, mild, dry weather is promoting a rapid crop development pace. Earlier-planted corn and soybeans have entered the weather-sensitive reproductive stage of development under generally favorable conditions. However, a few dry pockets have begun to develop in the southwestern Corn Belt.
In the South, hot weather is confined to the western Gulf Coast region, where short-term dryness and above-normal temperatures are stressing summer crops. Unfavorable dryness has also developed in the Mid-South, in an area centered on Arkansas. In contrast, well-watered Southeastern crops continue to receive rain.
Outlook: An upper-air low over the eastern Ohio Valley will interact with abundant tropical moisture — some of which is associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Chantal — to produce showers and thunderstorms from the Mid-Atlantic region into the Southeast. The low will stall before accelerating westward, ultimately bringing much-needed rain and cooler temperatures to the southern Plains by early next week. Meanwhile, monsoon showers will continue across the Four Corners region, with some of this moisture contributing to locally heavy showers in the Upper Midwest and northern Plains as well. However, portions of the southwestern Corn Belt and central Plains will remain dry. The West’s respite from hot weather will last through the weekend before increasingly hot weather returns early next week. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 17-21 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation across the majority of the U.S. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to a few areas along the Canadian border from North Dakota to Maine, and southern portions of the Rockies and Plains. Drier-than-normal weather will be confined to the central Plains and the Northwest.