USDA: Blistering Heat on the Plains Contrasts with Cooler Midwest Temps

June 26, 2012 03:18 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says on the Plains, hot, dry weather persists, sustaining rapid drydown and harvesting of hard red winter wheat in southern production areas. "However, 100-degree heat (locally more than 110°F) and gusty winds are causing rapid drought intensification from southern Montana into Texas," according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says showers are benefiting heading to filling winter wheat in the Northwest, while sunny skies are advancing the development of cotton, rice, and other irrigated summer crops in California and Arizona. "However, the wildfire threat remains high across much of the Intermountain West," USDA adds.

In the Corn Belt, dry weather is maintaining concern for corn and soybeans in the central Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, according to USDA. "Today's highs will average 4°F to 8°F below normal from Illinois into Ohio, reducing crop-water demands somewhat," USDA explains. Nevertheless, USDA says rain will be needed soon as more corn and soybeans enter reproduction. "As of June 24, corn condition was rated 22% and 36% poor to very poor in Illinois and Indiana, respectively," USDA explains.

In the South, Tropical Storm Debby is producing torrential rainfall and isolated tornadoes over Florida and southern Georgia as it drifts eastward across the northeastern Gulf, USDA explains. The rain is causing widespread flooding but providing much-needed relief from severe drought, USDA reports.

In its outlook, USDA says Tropical Storm Debby will drift slowly east, generating heavy rain (5-10 inches or more) over northern Florida and adjacent portions of Georgia and South Carolina. "Outside of Debby’s influence, dry conditions will prevail across the remainder of the Southeast," USDA reports. Meanwhile, a blistering heat wave (daytime highs reaching 100°F to 110°F) will prevail across the Plains, although cooler conditions will arrive on the northern Plains by mid-week, according to USDA. Some of the Plains’ heat will spread into the southern Corn Belt later in the week, USDA explains, while the upper Midwest will remain favorably cooler; scattered showers are possible in the Corn Belt at week’s end, but the prospects for drought-breaking rainfall appear bleak at this time. "The West is forecast to remain mostly dry, except for some patchy rain in the Northwest," USDA reports.


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