Heavy weekend rains ahead for much of the central, southern Corn Belt

Heavy weekend rains ahead for much of the central, southern Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, hot, dry weather is promoting summer crop maturation and early-season harvest activities, but is maintaining stress on drought-affected pastures.

On the Plains, hot, dry weather favors summer crop maturation and fieldwork, including winter wheat planting preparations. However, late-season heat also continues to adversely affect rangeland and pastures.

In the South, Tropical Storm Isaac was centered 35 miles southeast of Alexandria, Louisiana as of early Thursday morning.  The storm is moving toward the northwest at 8 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. Torrential rains persist in lower Mississippi Valley, primarily north and east of the storm’s center.

In the West, late-season warmth continues to promote crop maturation and fieldwork, including Northwestern spring wheat harvesting. Cool conditions are limited to areas along the Pacific Coast, while isolated showers are mostly confined to the Southwest.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac will drift northwest over Missouri and Arkansas before turning across the eastern Corn Belt. Coastal effects, such as storm surge and salt-water intrusion, will subside, but inland agricultural impacts could include lingering power outages, fresh-water flooding, and degradation in quality of unharvested summer crops such as cotton, rice, and soybeans. Along and near Isaac’s path through the central Gulf Coast States, storm-total rainfall could reach 7 to 14 inches (locally more). In the middle Mississippi Valley and the eastern Corn Belt, 4 to 8 inches of rain will aid pasture recovery and replenish soil moisture in preparation for the soft red winter wheat planting season.

Little or no rain will occur through the weekend across the remainder of the U.S., except for showers in the Intermountain West.

Much of the nation will continue to experience late-season warmth, especially across the northern U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in parts of the Midwest and along the Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall across the south-central U.S. and much of the West will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the East and portions of the central Plains and Midwest.

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