All graphics courtesy of USDA, NOAA, Department of Commerce
A stubborn ridge of high pressure left much of the Corn Belt under a hot, dry weather regime, further reducing corn and soybean yield prospects. Dryness, which first appeared in the western Corn Belt (e.g. much of Iowa and northern Missouri) during the second half of June, has expanded in recent weeks to encompass much of the Midwest.
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The heat wave boosted weekly temperatures 10-15° F above normal across much of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Readings occasionally reached 100° F as far north as South Dakota and southern Iowa, and topped 90° F in virtually all areas east of the Rockies – excluding the Appalachians and the Northeast.
Frequent thunderstorms rolled across the northern periphery of the ridge, helping to stabilize crop conditions in some northern and eastern production areas of the Midwest. Weekly rainfall totals in excess of 2 in. were noted in parts of Michigan and northern Wisconsin. Meanwhile, much of the Southeast got a reprieve from an extended period of heavy rain. Southeastern showers returned, however, late in the week, while soggy conditions persisted in southern Florida.
Farther west, warm, dry weather in the Mississippi Delta favored crop maturation and harvesting. Dry weather also promoted fieldwork and crop development on the Plains, although heat stressed immature, rain-fed crops in areas – such as the southern High Plains – with limited soil moisture reserves. Elsewhere, a robust summer rainy season continued in the Southwest, while several large wildfires continued to burn in northern and central California and the Northwest.
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