Agricultural Weather: California Wildfires; Corn Belt Dry
In the West, several large wildfires remain active, primarily from northern California to the northern Rockies. However, Northwestern heat also favors fieldwork, including small grain harvesting.
On the Plains, beneficial showers linger in parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Meanwhile, hot weather continues to expand across the northern Plains, where small grain harvesting is nearing completion. Elsewhere, critically dry conditions persist on the central Plains, where nearly all of the rangeland and pastures are rated very poor to poor in Nebraska (93% very poor to poor) and Kansas (92%).
In the Corn Belt, mild, mostly dry weather prevails. During the week ending August 19, soybeans rated very poor to poor fell (improved)—on the strength of cooler weather and recent rainfall—five percentage points in Indiana, Michigan, and South Dakota. Even with the improvement, more than one-third (37%) of the U.S. soybeans are rated very poor to poor, including 45% in Indiana, 35% in Michigan, and 31% in South Dakota.
In the South, showers continue in the southern Atlantic States. On August 19, at least 40% of the pastures were rated in good to excellent condition in every Gulf and Atlantic Coast State from Louisiana to Virginia— led by Florida with 83% good to excellent. In stark contrast, drought remains entrenched across the Mid-South,where nearly all of the pastures are rated very poor to poor in Missouri (99%) and Arkansas (85%).
Outlook: During the next several days, scattered showers will linger in the vicinity of the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. Shower activity will begin to increase across the Plains and western Corn Belt starting on August 23. Toward week’s end, cooler air will overspread the Northwest, while the remainder of the U.S. will experience near- to above-normal temperatures. Tropical Depression Nine, currently east of the Lesser Antilles, is expected to strengthen and could threaten the southeastern U.S. next week. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 26-30 call for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, except for cooler-than-normal conditions in portions of he Pacific Coast States. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall from the Pacific Coast into the south-central U.S. will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in Florida and from the northern Plains into the Northeast.