Weather Summary: Rainfall was more abundant than last week. A broken pattern of moderate to locally heavy rains (isolated totals up to 5 inches) covered the central and southern Plains, the northernmost Plains and Great Lakes region, the immediate Ohio Valley, and a good chunk of the Southeast and interior mid-Atlantic. However, the heavier amounts were fairly isolated, and with the hot weather that covered much of the central and eastern United States, only a few scattered areas of dryness and drought experienced significant improvement. In addition, the areas with the greatest temperature anomalies (average daily maxima 10 to 13 degrees above normal) generally coincided with an area of scant rainfall across the Midwest, northwestern Ohio Valley, and southern Great Plains, resulting in another week of widespread deterioration and expansion of dryness and drought in these regions.
In the hottest areas last week, which were generally dry, crop conditions deteriorated quickly. In the 18 primary corn-growing states, 30 percent of the crop is now in poor or very poor condition, up from 22 percent the previous week. In addition, fully half of the nation’s pastures and ranges are in poor or very poor condition, up from 28 percent in mid-June. The hot, dry conditions have also allowed for a dramatic increase in wildfire activity since mid-June. During the past 3 weeks, the year-to-date acreage burned by wildfires increased from 1.1 million to 3.1 million as of this writing.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Light to locally moderate rain fell on much of the region, but the hot weather negated much of the potential benefit from this rainfall, and in drier areas, dryness and moderate drought expanded. Abnormally dry conditions expanded through much of upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, and the central Appalachians, with D1 conditions stretching into westernmost New York, southwestern Pennsylvania, and the central mid-Atlantic. Over the last 90 days, only about half of normal rainfall has been recorded in portions of south-central Virginia, the interior mid-Atlantic, western Pennsylvania, and upstate New York.
The Tennessee Valley, Southeast, Deep South, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes Region: Brutal heat finally eased late in the period, but daily highs still averaged above 95 degrees in the lower Ohio, Tennessee, and much of the middle Mississippi Valleys and the southern half of the Plains. The most anomalous conditions covered the lower Ohio Valley, southern Great Lakes, and middle Mississippi Valley, where daily highs averaged 10 to 13 degrees above normal. Additionally, these areas received scant rainfall if any. Light to moderate rain, with a few pockets of 2 to 5 inch totals, prevailed elsewhere. Heavy rainfall was widespread enough to bring significant drought improvement to some areas near the Tennessee/Kentucky border, but D0 to D3 conditions expanded broadly for the second successive week in many locations, and a few areas of D4 were introduced along the lower Ohio River. The worst conditions (D3 to D4) were assessed along and near the lower Ohio River and in northeastern Indiana, where rainfall was 7 to 11 inches below normal for the last 3 months.