Recent dry spell taking a toll on soil moisture

Recent dry spell taking a toll on soil moisture

In the Corn Belt, beneficial showers and a few thunderstorms are developing in advance of a cold front. During the first 13 days of June, no measurable rain fell in many Midwestern locations, including Des Moines, Iowa; Quincy, Illinois; and Kirksville, Missouri. During the week ending June 11, topsoil moisture rated very short to short increased by 20 to 40 percentage points in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Nebraska, with values in those states ranging from 30% very short to short in Missouri to 49% in Michigan.

On the Plains, a low-pressure system is resulting in breezy weather and beneficial showers in Montana and the Dakotas. Showers also extend southward across the eastern Plains. Portions of the central and southern Plains have experienced a short-term drying trend, favoring winter wheat harvesting but reducing topsoil moisture.

In the South, warm, humid weather prevails, but shower coverage is gradually diminishing. In the mid-South, which has avoided much of the recent heavy rainfall, fieldwork continues at a rapid pace. In Arkansas, for example, the winter wheat harvest was 66% complete by June 11, compared to the 5-year average of 38%.

In the West, a warming trend is commencing, although cool conditions linger across the northern half of the region. Dry weather accompanies the rising temperatures, promoting fieldwork and crop development. On June 11, only 1% of California’s winter wheat had been harvested, compared to the 5-year average of 39%.

Over the next 5 days, additional rain is expected to fall from the northern Plains, through the Corn Belt, and into the Southeast. One to 3 inches of rainfall are likely to fall in these regions, with up to 5 inches in some localized areas. This rain will be especially beneficial in the Corn Belt, where little rain has fallen over the last 2 weeks. Elsewhere, dry weather will persist in the Four Corners States, as well as Nevada and California. Meanwhile, warmer-than-average weather will continue throughout much of the country over the next few days, with the lone cool region being the Pacific Northwest.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook suggests that above-average rainfall will occur in the eastern one-third of the country, while mostly dry weather will prevail across the Plains and the Northwest. Meanwhile, much warmer-than-normal conditions are likely in the western U.S., especially in the Desert Southwest. Additionally, warmth is expected in the southern Atlantic region, while cooler-than-normal weather should be limited to the Midwest.

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