Even as some areas of farm country see relieving rains, there's little proof that those wet areas will do anything more that provide a brief break. The longer-term forecast is for continued hot, dry weather as pollination continues in the northern Corn Belt. The latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, shows in graphic detail the spread of the drought across the country.
With USDA's Crop Condition Report earlier in the week showing a significant drop in corn and soybean quality, this added news of the number of counties hit by drought shows the dire straights some farmers are already finding themselves in. Livestock producers, already hurting from rising prices, may not see much relief.
Weather summary from the Drought Monitor site: A strong upper-level ridge of high pressure dominated the nation’s weather this U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) week, bringing well above-normal temperatures to the central and northern tier states. Clouds with scattered showers and thunderstorms along a stalled cool front kept temperatures below-normal in the southern states. But even then, maximum temperatures were 90 degrees F or warmer across much of the country, with maximums exceeding 100 from South Dakota to Kansas. Philip, South Dakota, reached 109 degrees on July 15. Beneficial rain fell from southern Texas to the southern Appalachians along the front. Excessive rainfall occurred over southeast Texas where amounts totaled 10 inches or more in places, but elsewhere rainfall amounts were generally localized with limited relief. Monsoon showers and thunderstorms brought above-normal rain to parts of the West, but the rain had little impact on deficits which have accumulated over several months. Weak fronts triggered localized showers and thunderstorms along the northern tier states. In between, hot and dry weather dominated from the central Plains to Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, and Northeast.
On this page is an animation, using graphics from the U.S. Drought Monitor, that shows the expansion of the drought across the country. To keep up on the drought and management information that aims to help you get by, visit www.DatelineDrought.com.