The coverage of Texas rangeland and pastures in very poor to poor conditions stood at 93% on July 31, according to USDA. The rangeland and pasture situation was nearly as bad in Oklahoma (86% very poor to poor), Arkansas (79%), and Kansas (57%). Oklahoma’s row crops were in particularly bad shape, with USDA rating 88% of the cotton and 74% of the sorghum in very poor to poor condition. By month’s end, topsoil moisture was reported to be 100% very short to short in Oklahoma, 97% in Texas, 89% in Arkansas, and 73% in Kansas.
The Southwest: An active monsoon circulation continued to generate scattered showers and thunderstorms across the Four Corners States. July ended wetter than normal at many Southwestern locations, including Douglas, Arizona (3.57 inches, or 114% of normal), and Grand Junction, Colorado (1.71 inches, or 259%). However, recovery in drought-affected areas was slow, with rangeland and pastures struggling to rebound. At the end of July, USDA rated 88% of New Mexico’s rangeland and pastures in very poor to poor condition, along with 64% in Arizona.
Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska: Tropical Storm Emily formed southeast of Puerto Rico on August 1 but contributed to an overall wet pattern in early August across the Greater Antilles. Meanwhile, lackluster summer showers across Hawaii’s Big Island led to expanded coverage of dryness (D0) and drought (D1 and D2). In particular, moderate drought (D1) coverage increased due to increased irrigation demands and deteriorating pasture conditions. Farther north, heavy precipitation fell across much of southeastern Alaska in late July, leading to a reduction in the coverage of abnormal dryness (D0). July 24-30 rainfall totaled 2.33 inches in Juneau, boosting its monthly sum to 3.51 inches (85 percent of normal). Nearly two-thirds (2.54 of 3.86 inches) of Yakutat’s monthly rain fell from July 24-30.
Looking Ahead: During the next 5 days (from August 4-8), excessively hot conditions will persist across the south-central and southeastern U.S., while cooler air will overspread the Midwest. Little or no rain will fall in the Far West and the drought-devastated south-central U.S. However, most other areas—including the northern and central Plains, Midwest, and East—can expect 1 to 2 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts. Most forecast guidance suggests that Tropical Storm Emily will turn away before reaching the U.S. mainland, although a weekend landfall along the southern Atlantic Coast cannot be ruled out.