Hot, dry conditions continue across region

KIMBALL – Wheat harvest was underway across the south Panhandle this week, with harvest reports somewhat mixed, though trending toward good yields and quality.
In general much of the wheat across the south Panhandle was planted into good soil moisture, survived the winter in good condition and had timely and adequate precipitation in March, April and May. June was dry and warm and early July has been dry and hot. All in all, near-perfect conditions for winter wheat production.
June’s dryness was a bit of a surprise following generally good moisture in the preceding five months. While Kimball saw 4.6 inches of liquid precipitation in May -- nearly double the 123 year average -- only half an inch fell in June, more than two inches less than the long-term average.
Through July 10 Kimball has seen only 0.03 inches of rain in a month that’s averaged 2.55 inches over the last 123 years. The first 10 days of July have also been hot, with a daily mean temperature of 74.8 degrees, three degrees warmer than the long-term average of 71.8 degrees.
The combination of hot air temperatures and little precipitation has had a predictable effect on spring-planted crops. Dryland millet, corn and forages are looking quite peaked across much of the south Panhandle.
In general, well-managed pastures and rangeland are holding up well. Cool season grasses enjoyed near-perfect conditions and abundant soil moisture during their rapid growth stage and produced bountiful grass. Warm season grasses got of to a good start in late June but are presently suffering from a shortfall of soil moisture. Timely rains would certainly give them a boost.

Regional Forecast and Conditions
As of Tuesday morning, July 11, conditions at Kimball were sunny, clear and warming towards a forecast high of 98 degrees. Daytime temperatures were expected to be slightly cooler, with sunny skies through the weekend, then warm back into the mid- to upper-90’s Monday-Wednesday.
A 20-50 percent chance of widespread thunderstorms is forecast for the coming week. Skies are expected to be generally sunny with the usual springtime chance of scattered, localized thunderstorms.
Air temperatures warmed across the region last week. At Kimball the July 4-10 daytime high averaged 93.57 degrees, about 8 degrees warmer than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 98 degrees on July 9. Overnight lows averaged 58.14 degrees, about 6 degrees warmer than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 50 degrees on July 4. The weekly mean temperature was 75.85 degrees, about 6.5 degrees warmer than the previous week, and 4 degrees warmer than the July average of 71.8. The long-term average high at Kimball is 87.4 degrees. Average low is 56.1 degrees.
Nine of 13 Panhandle stations reported precipitation over the July 4-10 period, ranging from  0.01 inch at Harrisburg to 0.62 inches at Big Springs. Panhandle precipitation averaged 0.12 inches, compared to 0.26 inches last week.
Panhandle soil temperatures warmed 5.5 to 8.1 degrees over the last two weeks: (this week/last week/change): Alliance 78.6/73.1 (+5.5) degrees; Gordon 80.2/73.5 (+6.7) degrees; Mitchell 88.4/80.3 (+8.1) degrees; Scottsbluff 80.8/75.1 (+5.7); and Sidney 81.3/75.6 (+5.7) degrees.
Winds near Kimball averaged west-southwesterly and mostly light over the July 4-10 period. Gusts for the week averaged 29.57 mph. High gust for the week was 60 mph on July 6.

July 14 Weather Almanac
Here’s an overview of July 14 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 123 years at Kimball. Data is taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (
One year ago: Daily high temperature 85 degrees, overnight low 53 degrees, average temperature 69.0 degrees. Precipitation 0.0 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth
zero inches.
The warmest July 14 on record was 104 degrees in 1922. The coolest July 14 high temperature was 68 degrees in 1952. The coldest July 14 overnight low was 46 degrees in 1997. The warmest July 14 overnight low was 66 degrees in 1896. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on July 14 has averaged 86 degrees, the overnight low 57 degrees, the daily average 71.4 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.09 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.
The highest July 14 precipitation total was 1.08 inches in 1949.

U.S. Drought Monitor
(July 4) The High Plains: On this week’s map, areas of Severe Drought (D2) and Extreme Drought (D3) expanded across eastern Montana, south-central North Dakota, and northwestern South Dakota where hot and dry conditions persisted.
In northwestern South Dakota, South Dakota State University Extension staff reported poor pasture and range conditions as well as deteriorating conditions on corn acres.
In eastern Montana, pasture, rangeland and crop conditions continued to deteriorate as temperatures soared above 90 degrees.
On July 1, the National Weather Service Office in Glasgow, Mont., reported several dry precipitation records were broken for Glasgow including: the driest May and June (0.72 inches) since 1918; the driest April, May, and June (1.24 inches) since 1918; and the driest January through June (2.75 inches) since 1983.
According to the USDA for the week ending June 25, topsoil moisture (percent short to very short) is as follows: Montana - 69 percent, Nebraska – 56 percent, North Dakota – 53 percent, and South Dakota – 63 percent.
In the southern Plains, areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) were reduced in eastern and southern portions of Oklahoma where heavy rainfall accumulations were observed with some localized accumulations in south-central Oklahoma ranging from 8 to 10 inches.
Across most of the region with exception of western portions of the Dakotas, average temperatures were 1-4 degrees below normal.
National Summary: This past week saw scattered showers and thunderstorm activity across portions of the central and southern Plains, Gulf Coast, lower Midwest, northern half of New England and the Southeast.
Heavy rainfall was observed across northern Missouri, where severe thunderstorms produced widespread accumulations ranging from 3 to 5 inches as well as two isolated areas receiving 8 to 10 inches.
In the southern Plains, some improvement in drought conditions occurred in southeastern Oklahoma where 4 to 11 inches of rain fell during the past week.
In the drought-stricken northern Plains and eastern Montana, rainfall accumulations of generally less than 1 inch provided little relief.
Early this week, temperatures in eastern Montana soared into the 90s, exacerbating already dry conditions and further stressing crops, pastures, and rangelands. Across the remainder of the West, generally hot and dry conditions prevailed, with areas of the Pacific Northwest experiencing temperatures up to 10 degrees above normal.
In the desert Southwest and Great Basin, firefighters have been battling large wild-land fires in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
In the South, heavy rains fells across the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
In the Mid-Atlantic, some areas of dryness have developed in portions of Delaware, Maryland, and northern Virginia.
In the Northeast, heavy rains were observed in Upstate New York as well as northern portions of New Hampshire and Vermont.

U.S. Conditions and Weather Report
As of July 5, beneficial showers dotted the southeastern half of the Plains, but rainfall was spottier and more erratic farther north and west. As a result, the northern Plains experienced little, if any, relief from a punishing, early season drought, despite a period of cool weather.
Weekly temperatures averaged 4 to 8 degrees below normal in a broad area centered on the upper Midwest. Near- to below-normal temperatures covered all of the central and eastern U.S., excluding southern Florida and southern and western sections of Texas.
In contrast, hot, mostly dry weather persisted in the West, although temperatures in California and the Southwest were lower than those observed the previous week. Nonetheless, weekly readings ranged from 4 to 8 degrees above normal throughout the Far West, except along the Pacific Coast.
Locally heavy showers and thunderstorms affected the northern and western Corn Belt, keeping crops mostly well watered, but bypassing a few spots. Notably, rainfall has been consistently below normal in recent weeks in several Midwestern areas, including southern Michigan and a broad arc from Nebraska to central Illinois. Elsewhere, short-term dryness began to stress crops and pastures in the Mid-Atlantic region, but showery weather maintained generally adequate to locally surplus soil moisture across the South.
Record-breaking heat arrived across the drought-ravaged northern Plains by July 11, boosting weekly temperatures at least 5 to 10 degrees above normal.
The early-July heat hastened winter wheat maturation and further increased stress on rangeland, pastures, livestock, and spring-sown crops.
Temperatures peaked across the northern Plains on July 5, topping 100 degrees in many locations.
Very hot, mostly dry weather also prevailed in the West, maintaining heavy irrigation demands and hampering wildfire containment efforts. By July 10, more than five-dozen wildfires were active across the West.
Except along the Pacific Coast, weekly temperatures generally averaged 5 to 10 degrees above normal.
Hot weather also affected the middle and southern Atlantic States and the western Gulf Coast region, but near-normal temperatures covered much of the southern Plains, mid-South, and Midwest.
Rainfall across the Midwest was generally light, but a band of heavier rain (locally 2 to 4 inches or more) stretched from the southeastern Plains into the Mid-Atlantic States. Despite the lack of sustained Midwestern rainfall, mostly adequate soil moisture and moderate temperatures generally favored summer crop development. Earlier-planted Midwestern corn and soybeans were entering reproduction, with dryness related concerns mostly limited to parts of the western and central Corn Belt.

USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Reports

Hot and dry conditions pushed winter wheat harvest just ahead of the average last week.
While some counties received isolated moisture, hot and windy conditions resulted in a decrease in soil moisture and associated decline in dryland crop and pasture conditions.
Irrigated crops in northeastern counties are doing well, although windy conditions coupled with heat have producers in areas scrambling to irrigate.
In the San Luis Valley, hay harvest is progressing well despite scattered precipitation, although there were reports of alfalfa weevil and spraying to mitigate.
Irrigation supplies in the San Luis Valley are holding up well but river levels have dropped off considerably. Southeastern counties also saw good progress of hay and wheat harvest.
Livestock are reported to be doing well, but rangeland conditions across the state cause concern, with continued hot and dry weather. Moisture is needed in drier areas if hot weather continues.
Winter wheat condition was rated 43 percent good to excellent statewide, compared with 66 percent good to excellent last year.
Stored feed supplies were rated 2 percent short, 85 percent adequate, and 13 percent surplus.
Sheep death loss was 79 percent average and 21 percent light. Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 81 percent average, and 18
percent light. Nebraska
For the week ending July 9, temperatures averaged two to six degrees above normal. Moderate amounts of precipitation covered most of the western counties and eastern parts of the Panhandle while the eastern half of the State remained dry. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 24 percent very short, 41 short, 35 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 16 percent very short, 38 short, 46 adequate, and 0 surplus.
There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Drier conditions allowed winter wheat harvest to progress.
Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 7 poor, 23 fair, 56 good, and 12 excellent. Corn silking was 14 percent, behind 26 last year and 23 for the five-year average.
Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 26 fair, 61 good, and 5 excellent. Soybean bloom was 51 percent, well ahead of 25 last year and ahead of 35 average.
Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 12 poor, 36 fair, 43 good, and 6 excellent. Winter wheat mature was 85 percent. Harvested was 52 percent, ahead of 35 last year and 38 average.
Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 32 fair, 55 good, and 11 excellent. Sorghum headed was 4 percent, near 0 last year and 2 average.
Oats condition rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 37 fair, 56 good, and 5 excellent. Oats coloring was 86 percent, near 84 last year. Mature was 61 percent. Harvested was 26 percent.
Alfalfa condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 31 fair, 53 good, and 6 excellent. Alfalfa second cutting was 69 percent complete, ahead of 56 last year and 50 average.
Dry edible beans condition rated 7 percent very poor, 15 poor, 21 fair, 42 good, and 15 excellent. Dry edible beans emerged was 96 percent. Blooming was 4 percent, near 2 last year and 3 average.
Pasture and Range Report: Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 16 poor, 41 fair, 37 good, and 3 excellent.
Stock water supplies rated 3 percent very short, 11 short, 86 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Wyoming experienced warmer than normal temperatures for the week. All of the 34 stations reported above average temperatures, with the high temperature of 103 degrees recorded at Greybull and a low of 36 degrees at Lake Yellowstone.
Ten stations reported no precipitation and Newcastle had the most precipitation with 0.88 inches. Less than normal precipitation was recorded at 33 of 34 reporting stations.
A reporter from Northeastern Wyoming indicted precipitation is desperately needed. They also reported that pasture grass is curing very quickly with the high temperatures.
A reporter from Eastern Wyoming noted that hay production in the county could be about one-fourth of normal and very spotty.
A reporter from Western Wyoming reported that it was very hot and sunny for the past week with limited thunderstorm activity. They also indicated that producers have been busy putting up hay.
A reporter from South Central Wyoming noted that it was hot, and very dry with pastures maturing very quickly. Two other reporters from South Central Wyoming commented on the dry pastures, low hay production, and dwindling water supplies.
A reporter from Southeast Wyoming indicated that wheat is just about ready for harvest with very light moisture received for the week. Another reporter from Southeast Wyoming indicated that it has been hot and dry with strong winds.
Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 10 percent very short, 8 percent short, 81 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.


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