USDA Weather update: Mostly dry and hot; crops thriving with soil moisture reservesJul 31, 2014
Mostly dry weather prevailed in the Midwest, except for locally heavy showers in North Dakota, northern Minnesota, and the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys. Despite a July drying trend, most Midwestern corn and soybeans continued to thrive due to near- to below-normal temperatures and abundant soil moisture reserves.
Spotty showers were heaviest in the Southeast, where rain aided pastures and summer crops. Weekly rainfall totals in excess of 2 inches were common in the Atlantic Coast States as far north as Virginia.
Meanwhile on the Plains, hot weather accompanied widely scattered showers. The heat hastened winter wheat maturation on the northern Plains and promoted rapid crop development throughout the nation’s mid-section. However, the Plains’ high temperatures also stressed some summer crops, especially in areas dependent upon rain or with lingering subsoil moisture deficits.
Elsewhere, heat also arrived across the Southwest during a temporary break in the monsoon circulation, while cooler weather and beneficial showers overspread the Northwest. In particular, Northwestern showers aided containment efforts for a rash of lightning-sparked wildfires.
All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce