USDA Chief Meteorologist Brad Rippey says preliminary data provided by the National Weather Service indicates that July rainfall totaled less than 50% of normal in a broad area stretching from the central and southern Plains into the Mid-South and Midwest.
"No measurable rain fell during July in several locations," reports Rippey. "Meanwhile, monthly temperatures generally ranged from 4 to 8°F above normal across the northern and central Plains and the Midwest. It was the hottest July on record in cities such as Rockford, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and La Crosse, Wisconsin, breaking all-time records set in 1921, 1934, and 1936, respectively."
Hope for rains
In his outlook, Rippey say an unusually strong summer cold front will reach the northern Plains on Friday and cross the Midwest during the weekend. "Scattered showers and thunderstorms will precede and accompany the cold front, mainly across the nation’s northern tier. Rainfall associated with the cold front’s passage could reach 1 to 2 inches from the Dakotas into the Northeast," he says. "However, only isolated showers can be expected across the core drought areas of the Plains and Midwest. In the front’s wake, below-normal temperatures will prevail across the northern and central Plains and the Midwest, although hot weather will return to the High Plains by early next week. Meanwhile, extreme heat will persist into next week across the south-central U.S. Elsewhere, five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches, with locally higher amounts, in the Southeast."