Devastating drought covers the southern-half of the Plains...

Devastating drought covers the southern-half of the Plains...

On the Plains, relentless heat and devastating drought conditions persist across roughly the southern half of the region. From 1995-2010, the coverage of Texas rangeland and pastures in very poor to poor condition peaked at 81% in August 1998 and 2006; coverage currently stands at 91%. Meanwhile, cooler-than-normal conditions prevail on the northern High Plains, where crop development remains delayed.

Across the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are replenishing topsoil moisture reserves across the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, unfavorably hot weather is building back into the southern Corn Belt, bringing renewed stress to reproductive corn and soybeans.

In the South, showers continue to provide drought relief from the central Gulf Coast into the southern Atlantic region. Farther north, however, hot, dry weather is increasing stress on pastures and rain-fed summer crops.

In the West, near- to below-normal temperatures prevail. Monsoon shower activity has temporarily waned in the Four Corners States.

A disturbance approaching Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula may become a tropical depression (or Tropical Storm Don) during the next day or two. Regardless of development, tropical moisture should contribute to late-week rainfall in the drought-affected western Gulf Coast region.

Meanwhile, the Southwestern monsoon circulation interacting with a cold front will produce widespread showers and thunderstorms from the Four Corners region into the northern Plains, Midwest, and eventually the Northeast.

During the weekend, showers will increase in coverage over the Southeast, but hot, mostly dry conditions will persist from the southern Plains into the Ohio Valley and northern Mid-Atlantic region.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for hotter-than-normal weather nationwide, except for near- to below-normal temperatures in northern Maine, the northern Rockies, and the Pacific Coast States. Elsewhere, wetter-than-normal conditions will arc across the Four Corners region, northern Plains, Midwest, Ohio Valley, and southern Mid-Atlantic States, while the remainder of the U.S. will experience near- to below-normal rainfall.

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