July 2 USDA Weekly Weather UpdateJul 3, 2013
Favorably drier weather arrived across the Upper Midwest, easing residual lowland flooding and allowing wet fields to begin drying. In contrast, heavy showers continued from the central and eastern Corn Belt into the Northeast, where weekly rainfall totals of 2-4 in. or more were common. Locally heavy showers also dotted the Southeast, primarily from the Appalachians eastward. The Midwestern and Eastern rain limited fieldwork, including soft red winter wheat harvesting, but maintained abundant moisture reserves for pastures and summer crops.
Farther west, most of the Great Plains received little or no rainfall, accompanied by above-normal temperatures. The northern Plains’ late-planted summer crops benefited from warm weather, but the central and southern High Plains’ already drought-stressed rangeland, pastures and crops were adversely affected by hot conditions. However, the Plains’ hot, mostly dry weather also favored hard red winter wheat maturation and harvesting.
In fact, near- to above-normal temperatures dominated the nation, with the most persistent heat – weekly temperatures as much as 10° F above normal – covering southern portions of the Rockies and High Plains. Toward week’s end, cooler air began to overspread the Midwest, while an impressive heat wave developed across the West.
In the Southwest, lightning strikes in advance of monsoon showers sparked several wildfires, including the deadly Yarnell Hill blaze in west-central Arizona. Elsewhere, early-week showers in northern California and the Northwest yielded to hot, dry conditions toward week’s end.