In the West, showers associated with the onset of the monsoon (summer rainy season) stretch from the Desert Southwest to the central Rockies. Meanwhile, favorably warm, dry weather is promoting Northwestern fieldwork and crop development. In Idaho, for example, only 76% of the winter wheat and 27% of the spring wheat had headed by July 3; 5-year averages are 92 and 42%, respectively.
On the Plains, scattered thundershowers are heaviest in Kansas. However, historic drought continues unabated on the southern Plains. In Texas, 84% of the rangeland and pastures were rated in very poor to poor condition on July 3, along with 57% of the cotton and 53% of the corn. Meanwhile, spring wheat had not yet begun to head in North Dakota or Montana; 5-year averages for July 3 are 48 and 32%, respectively.
In the Corn Belt, a weak cold front is producing minimal shower activity, allowing most fieldwork to continue. Indiana’s winter wheat was 39% harvested by July 3, compared to the 5-year average of 50%. Slightly cooler air trails the front into the northern and western Corn Belt.
In the South, very warm weather accompanies isolated showers. Southeastern pastures and summer crops continue to benefit from recent topsoil moisture improvements, but more rain is needed. On July 3, more than one-third of the cotton was rated in very poor to poor condition in Georgia (44%) and Alabama (39%).
Outlook: During the next several days, tropical moisture will interact with a series of weak cold fronts. Some of the heaviest rain (1 to 3 inches, with locally higher totals) will fall in the Southeast and from the Four Corners States onto the northern and central Plains. Mostly dry weather will prevail, however, in the Pacific Coast States and the south-central U.S. Unfavorably hot weather will persist into next week from the southern Plains into the Southeast. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for July 11-15 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation nearly nationwide. Cooler-than-normal weather will be confined to areas along and near the Pacific Coast, while drier-than-normal conditions will be limited to southern California, the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain, and from the southern Plains into the Mid-South.