Midwestern drought expanded and intensified during August, placing immature corn and soybeans under increasing levels of stress during the filling stage of development. In addition, previously favorable temperatures were replaced by late-month heat, leading to further declines in summer crop yield potential. By September 1, a little more than half of the nation's corn (56%) and soybeans (54%) were rated by USDA in good to excellent condition, down from early-July highs of 68% and 67%, respectively.
Dryness also returned during August to the south-central United States, adversely affecting some cotton and other rain-fed crops. By early September, roughly one-third of the cotton was rated in very poor to poor condition in Texas (33%) and Oklahoma (32%). Meanwhile, showery weather dominated portions of the northern and central Plains and the Mid-South. In the latter region, flooding occurred early in the month on the Ozark Plateau.
In addition, wet conditions plagued the Southeast, maintaining a summer-long trend that has disrupted fieldwork and reduced the quality of a variety of fruits, vegetables, and row crops, including some cotton and peanuts.
Elsewhere, a robust monsoon circulation continued to provide drought relief in parts of the Southwest, while late-month rainfall eased dry conditions in the Northwest. However, mostly dry weather prevailed from California to the northern Intermountain West, contributing to the development and expansion of dozens of wildfires.