Across the Corn Belt, spotty showers are overspreading the upper Midwest, accompanied by warmer weather. The remainder of the Corn Belt continues to experience cool, dry weather—favorable for corn and soybeans in areas where soil moisture is adequate. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 9% of the Midwest (but 45% of Iowa) was experiencing drought on August 18.
On the Plains, isolated showers are causing only minor fieldwork delays. On the northern High Plains, late-summer heat is promoting small grain maturation and harvesting. Meanwhile, drought continues to adversely affect rangeland, pastures and summer crops across the central and southern High Plains.
In the South, dry weather across the western Gulf Coast region continues to promote rice harvesting and other fieldwork. Meanwhile in the Southeast, widespread showers are causing fieldwork disruptions but maintaining adequate to locally excessive moisture supplies for pastures and immature summer crops.
In the West, California’s two largest lightning-sparked wildfire complexes—largely uncontained—continue to burn in the Coastal Range. The LNU Lightning Complex, north of the Bay Area, has charred some 215,000 acres of vegetation. The SCU Lightning Complex, east of San Jose, has scorched well over 150,000 acres. Dozens of other fires burning elsewhere in the West are contributing to widespread dense smoke and air-quality degradation.
Two tropical cyclones may threaten portions of the U.S. early next week. The low-confidence intensity forecast for Tropical Depression Thirteen is due to potential land interactions in the northern Caribbean, as well as atmospheric factors, but the system could pass near or over southern Florida on Monday before entering the Gulf of Mexico and threatening the eastern Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, uncertainties also exist regarding Tropical Depression Fourteen, but the system could reach the Texas or Louisiana coast as a tropical storm or hurricane as early as Tuesday. Prior to the approach of the tropical cyclones, heavy showers in the Southeast will be sparked by a slow-moving disturbance. Most of the remainder of the country will remain dry, except for occasional showers in the Pacific Northwest and from the upper Midwest to New England. Any Western showers will not produce much rain and could be accompanied by lightning, maintaining the threat of new wildfires. During the next several days, hot weather will persist across much of the western half of the U.S., with above-normal temperatures also spreading eastward across the nation’s northern tier.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for warmer-than-normal weather nationwide, except for near- or below-normal temperatures along the Canadian border. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal weather across most of the country should contrast with near- or below-normal rainfall in the Pacific Coast States, Great Basin, Desert Southwest, and southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains.