Heat and drought devastated pastures and summer crops in a broad area covering the nation's heartland, including large sections of the Plains, Midwest, and mid-South. In the hardest-hit areas, July rainfall totaled less than 50 percent of normal—with a few locations receiving no measurable precipitation. Overall effects on major Midwestern row crops, including corn and soybeans, were comparable to those observed during the historic 1988 drought.
Meanwhile, July average temperature records were broken in numerous communities from the northern and central Plains to the Great Lakes region, erasing marks that had been set as long ago as 1921, 1934, 1936, or 1955. Monthly temperatures averaged 4°F to 8°F above normal across much of the Plains and Midwest.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor BRAD RIPPEY is the U.S. Editor of the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin of the Joint Agriculture NOAA Weather Facility.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor JEFFREY B. HALVERSON is an associate professor of geography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.