According to the National Drought Monitor, "extreme" drought now covers 31.8% of the U.S. Corn Belt, compared to 29% last week. Nationally, 20.62% of the nation is drought-free, compared to 19.92% last week.
For the Midwest, the monitor notes that most of the region registered above-normal temperatures for the period ending Tuesday morning, with preliminary data revealing temps are 5-10 degrees above normal for July. "The region continues to be impacted not only by oppressive heat, but also by depleted soil moisture, desiccated pastures and widespread crop damages, livestock culling and elevated fire risk," states the monitor. "Recent concerns have now turned to soybeans and water supply as the drought’s duration persists."
In the High Plains, the monitor notes that 2.36% of the area is free of drought, up just marginally from 2.32% the previous week. But "extreme" drought now covers 48.26% of the area, compared to 44.51% last week.