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In the Corn Belt, a broken line of showers stretches from Michigan to Missouri. Prior to the rain, topsoil moisture had declined precipitously in parts of the central and eastern Corn Belt. On August 4, topsoil moisture was rated at least one-half very short to short in Illinois (57%), Michigan (54%), and Indiana (50%).

On the Plains, a new round of heat is starting to build across western Texas and environs. During the week ending Aug. 4, the portion of the Texas cotton crop rated in good to excellent condition fell from 59 to 46%. Farther north, a surge of cooler air is arriving along the Canadian border, in northern Montana.

In the South, widely scattered showers linger across Florida’s peninsula and in the vicinity of the Gulf Coast. Throughout the region, warm, humid weather favors summer crop development. 

In the West, monsoon-related showers are scattered across the southern Rockies and the Desert Southwest, but overall coverage and intensity remains less than average. In addition, hot weather covers much of the region, particularly across the northern Intermountain West. In the Northwest, hot, dry weather favors small grain maturation and harvesting. Washington led the nation with 10% of its spring wheat harvested by August 4. 

Persistent heat across the southern High Plains will contrast with an expanding area of near- or below-normal temperatures that should engulf much of the nation by week’s end. The coolest weather, relative to normal, will affect the northern Plains, especially late in the week.

Meanwhile, the interaction between the Southwestern monsoon circulation and a series of Northern cold fronts will help to focus showers and thunderstorms in several areas, including the Plains (excluding Oklahoma and Texas), Rockies, mid-South, and from the Ohio Valley into the Northeast. Showers may also linger along and near the Gulf Coast. 

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures across the North from the northern Rockies into the Northeast, while hotter-than-normal weather will prevail in the southern half of the U.S. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal rainfall across most of the country will contrast with drier-than-normal conditions in much of Texas, the Intermountain West, and from the lower Great Lakes region into the Northeast.

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