USDA: Drought Impacting Western Corn Belt

Posted on 08/08/2017 8:08 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, unusually cool weather is slowing crop development, despite mostly sunny skies. In addition, pockets of dryness and drought are affecting some areas, primarily west of the Mississippi River. "In Iowa, topsoil moisture was rated 56% very short to short on August 6," it notes.

In the West, USDA says hot, hazy, smoky conditions persist from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. "In addition, afternoon lightning strikes could spark new Northwestern wildfires," it states. "Elsewhere, hot weather is returning to the Southwest, while showers associated with the monsoon circulation are most numerous across the Intermountain West and the central and southern Rockies."

On the Plains, USDA says cool weather prevails. "Soil moisture shortages remain particularly acute on the northern Plains," it states. "On August 6, topsoil moisture was rated at least two-thirds very short to short in Montana (97% very short to short), South Dakota (73%), and North Dakota (67%)," it notes. "On the same date, North Dakota led the nation in rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor (78%), followed by Montana (68%) and South Dakota (67%)."

In the South, USDA says a band of rain stretches from the southern Mid-Atlantic States to the western Gulf Coast region. "Southern growing conditions remain mostly favorable, although rain is causing some fieldwork delays," it states.

For the remainder of the week, USDA says hot, mostly dry weather will continue to impact the Northwest. "In addition, wildfire smoke trapped by stagnant atmospheric conditions will maintain poor Northwestern air quality," it warns. "Meanwhile, monsoon-related showers will be most numerous across the central and southern Rockies, where five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches. Somewhat higher totals can be expected across portions of the Central and Southern Plains over the weekend, but the drought-stricken northern High Plains should receive less than an inch during the next five days. Elsewhere, cool weather will continue in the central and eastern U.S., along with periods of heavy rain — locally 2 to 4 inches — from the central Gulf Coast region to Georgia and the Carolinas."

aug 8 20-17


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