According to the National Drought Monitor, 51% of the Midwest is covered by drought, up from 45% last week. More concerning is that "extreme" drought was introduced in southwest Iowa. The monitor notes that 62% of the contiguous U.S. is covered by some form of drought, and increase of more than two percentage points from last week.
The monitor notes that above-normal temperatures and rapidly deteriorating soil moisture conditions and have resulted in what appears to be a "late-season flash drought." It adds, "Many areas are contending with significant impacts to crops such as corn and soybeans, while other areas appear to be less impacted, depicting considerable variation in crop conditions across the Midwest. Widespread one-category degradations were rendered accordingly to the drought depiction. As a result, a redrawing and consolidation of the short-term (S) Impact lines was necessary."
Demonstrating the wide variety of weather conditions seen so far this growing season, the monitor notes: "Burlington, Iowa (in the southeast corner of the state) in 2013 had its wettest spring on record since 1898, with 19.23 inches of precipitation (+7.83 inches above normal). Burlington is now on track to experience its driest summer on record since 1898, with only 3.86 inches of precipitation so far (-8.41 inches below normal). Portions of the Midwest are also on track for having one of the driest Augusts on record."
During the August 29-September 2, 2013 time period, the monitor says to expect 1.0-2.5 inches of rain from western North Dakota eastward across central Minnesota, continuing southeastward across much of Wisconsin and lower Michigan. Between 1.0-1.5 inches of rain is predicted to fall across much of Arizona. Temperatures across the Midwest are forecast to be about 8-12 degrees above-normal for the first half of this period, followed by a brief respite, with temperatures near seasonal values.