This week's National Drought Monitor reveals drought expanded across Ohio and improved in Iowa. Ohio now has 75.6% of its area covered by drought, a five-point expansion from last week. Additionally, 33.7% of Ohio is covered by moderate drought (D1), a 4.3-point gain from last week. Meanwhile, a 10-point improvement in drought was seen in Iowa, with 30.7% now covered by drought.
"Significant rainfall chipped away at many of the remaining areas of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1). Rain was heaviest in the upper Mississippi Valley," states the monitor. "The rain helped to offset the effects of a brief heat wave, leaving Midwestern corn and soybeans mostly in good shape... Only in the lower Great Lakes region and the westernmost Corn Belt were there heat- and/or drought-related concerns with major row crops."
Meanwhile, in the Northern Plains, heat briefly compounded the effects of patchy drought across the northern and central Plains. "In South Dakota, triple-digit, daily-record highs for July 20 soared to 108°F in Dupree and 107°F in Timber Lake," states the monitor. "However, some areas received significant rain during the monitoring period, helping to trim drought coverage in parts of North Dakota and environs."
In its outlook for the next few days, an active weather pattern will feature the interaction between a disturbance in the Southeast and cold fronts crossing the Plains and Midwest. "As a result, five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches or more from the Mississippi Delta into the Mid-Atlantic States. Surrounding areas, including the northern and central Plains and the Midwest, could see 1- to 2-inch totals in a few spots," states the monitor. "In the West, showers will be heaviest across Arizona and New Mexico, with most other areas remaining hot and dry. Elsewhere, lingering heat will be mostly confined to the lower Southeast, although hot weather will build eastward and return to the High Plains during the weekend."