Across the Corn Belt, cool, dry weather is easing stress on summer crops, although a few pockets of unfavorable dryness exist. Crop development remains significantly behind the normal pace, despite last week’s heat wave. For example, only 35% of the U.S. corn crop was silking by July 21, compared to the 5-year average of 66%.
On the Plains, cool, dry weather favors fieldwork, including harvest activities for late-maturing winter wheat. By July 21, not a single acre of winter wheat had yet been harvested in South Dakota and Montana, compared to respective 5-year averages of 42 and 15%. On the same date, rangeland and pastures were rated at least 70% in good to excellent condition in each of the region’s states except Texas.
In the South, Tropical Depression 3 was centered about 40 miles east-northeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, early Tuesday morning, moving northward around 12 mph. Most of the rain associated with the tropical system remains offshore. Elsewhere, a band of showers in the vicinity of a cold front stretches from the southern mid-Atlantic states to the western Gulf Coast region, helping to maintain generally favorable growing conditions.
In the West, above-normal temperatures across the Intermountain region and the northern Rockies contrast with cooler-than-normal conditions in the southern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Showers associated with the monsoon circulation dot the southern Rockies and the Desert Southwest.
T.D. 3 is forecast to move northward and will soon become absorbed by a cold front. Additional rainfall associated with the front could total 1 to 4 inches or more, mainly in the southern Atlantic states and along the Gulf Coast. In contrast, dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days in most areas from the central and southern Plains into the lower Great Lakes region. Mostly dry weather will also cover the Pacific Coast states, but monsoon-related showers will affect the Four Corners states and neighboring areas. For the remainder of the week, hotter-than-normal weather across interior sections of the West will contrast with near- or below-normal temperatures in the central and eastern U.S.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in the Southeast and Northwest. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal rainfall across much of the U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in a few areas, including the Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes region and southern sections of Florida and Texas.