Weekly Weather Summary: Despite scattered, locally heavy showers across the Midwest and Southeast, hot weather continued to have a detrimental impact on summer crops. The heat’s effects were amplified in areas largely bypassed by showers, including a broad arc of farmland stretching from southern Iowa into western Ohio. Meanwhile, an already dire situation continued to worsen across the south-central U.S., where the combination of an historic 10-month drought and a relentless summer heat wave left little hope for rain-fed commodities and placed significant stress on livestock and irrigated crops. Farther west, an active monsoon circulation contributed to beneficial showers in the Four Corners States. Elsewhere, Southeastern showers helped to offset the effects of hot weather, especially in the central Gulf Coast region and parts of the southern Atlantic States, while Tropical Storm Don—which made landfall in Deep South Texas on July 29—was a tremendous disappointment with minimal rainfall.
The Midwest and Northeast: Patchy agricultural dryness (D0A) continued to develop from the Midwest into the Northeast, with some pockets of drought (D1A) beginning to appear. In many areas, persistent heat aggravated the effects of short-term dryness. For example, Detroit, Michigan, set a record for its hottest month (79.3°F; previously, 79.0°F in July 1921 and 1955). Meanwhile in Indiana, Ft. Wayne not only set a record for its hottest month, but also experienced a record-high number of 90-degree days in July (22; previously, 21 days in 1983).
In Pennsylvania, nearly one-third (31%) of the corn crop was rated in very poor to poor conditions at the end of July. Not far behind were Missouri (28% of the corn very poor to poor) and Indiana (21%). Pastures continued to “burn up,” with more than half reported in very poor to poor condition on July 31 in Pennsylvania (58%) and Maryland (55%). Topsoil moisture was rated 85% very short to short in Maryland; end-of-July values in other states included 78% in Pennsylvania, 69% in Missouri, 66% in Delaware, 64% in New York, and 63% in Indiana.
Ironically, some areas received heavy rain. For example, daily-record totals in Michigan for July 27 reached 3.49 inches in Grand Rapids and 2.15 inches in Lansing. On July 28, Wisconsin locations such as Wisconsin Rapids (3.20 inches) and Green Bay (2.25 inches) tallied daily-record amounts. Dubuque, Iowa, was hammered by 10.62 inches of rain in a 24-hour period on July 27-28, establishing an all-time record. Previously, Dubuque’s highest 24-hour rainfall had been 8.96 inches on August 21-22, 2002. Dubuque also experienced its wettest calendar day on record (7.47 inches on July 27), shattering its former mark of 6.28 inches set on July 1, 1961. In fact, Midwestern monthly rainfall totals were extraordinarily variable, with Dubuque (16.01 inches) experiencing its wettest month on record and Indianapolis, Indiana (0.47 inch), weathering its driest July.