The 6-10 day temperature outlook
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Across the Corn Belt, a disturbance crossing the Great Lakes region is producing widespread showers. The rain is especially beneficial in Michigan, where topsoil moisture rated very short to short had risen to 71% by July 5. Some Midwestern locations, including Kalamazoo, Michigan, reported high temperatures of 90º or greater on each of the first 9 days in July. However, slightly cooler air is currently overspreading the Midwest.

On the Plains, scattered showers and near- or below-normal temperatures across Montana and the Dakotas are providing favorable growing conditions for spring-sown small grains, many of which are in the heading or filling stage of development. On July 5, nearly two-thirds of the U.S. spring wheat (63%) and barley (60%) had headed. Farther south, an ongoing spell of extremely hot, dry weather across the southern Plains is maintaining significant stress on rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed summer crops. On July 9, Borger, Texas, reported a daily-record high temperature of 109º.

In the South, impacts from Tropical Storm Fay are waning in the coastal Carolinas as the cyclone moves northward along the middle Atlantic coastline. Early Friday morning, Fay was centered about 55 miles south-southeast of Ocean City, Maryland, with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph. Most of the South continues to experience warm, humid weather and a rapid crop development pace. A few thundershowers are occurring early Friday, primarily from Mississippi to Florida.

In the West, lingering cool weather (and a few showers) in the northern Rockies contrasts with above-normal temperatures elsewhere. Extreme pre-monsoon heat has resulted in the issuance of an excessive heat warning for the Desert Southwest; Friday’s high temperatures could approach or reach 120º at low-elevation sites such as Death Valley, California.

Tropical Storm Fay will move inland across the Northeast later Friday or Friday night. Storm-total rainfall could reach 2 to 4 inches, with locally higher amounts, while tropical storm-force wind gusts (39 mph or greater) will be common in mid-Atlantic coastal areas. Northeastern flooding should be minimal, as Fay’s rain will be falling in an area that has experienced hotter- and drier-than-normal weather since late May. Farther west, a series of cold fronts will maintain the possibility of showers and thunderstorms from the northern Plains into the Midwest. In addition, cooler weather will benefit Midwestern summer crops, some of which are entering the reproductive stage of development. In contrast, hot, dry weather will persist across the southern Plains and Southwest. In fact, little or no rain will fall during the next 5 days from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains, as well as the Rio Grande Valley and the western Gulf Coast region.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- or above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions from the Pacific Northwest to the northern High Plains. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal rainfall across most of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in southern Florida and across the North from Washington to Michigan.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."