Light Showers Tease Drought Relief
The drought that has withered crops and communities throughout the Midwest and South could be briefly reprieved over the next week to 10 days. While extreme heat is not forecast again anytime soon, conditions are expected to remain mostly parched for now.
Meteorologists are predicting some short-term drought relief via showers and cooler temperatures in parts of the Midwest through August 17, according to the latest estimates. Unfortunately, the chance of wetter and cooler weather does not mean the drought is over, and the potential rainfall will not be enough to significantly impact the agriculture.
''It's definitely better than what we've had but I'd be hesitant to call it a drought-buster. Longer-term outlooks still look like a return to warm and dry,'' AccuWeather meteorologist Jason Nicholls told Reuters.
Nicholls said ¼ to ¾-inches of rain was expected in roughly 75 percent of the Midwest from August 8 through the morning of August 10, with heavier rainfall in some areas. A similar weather system is expected the following week.
''Temperatures will be cooler into the weekend, much more seasonal, then warmer again next week, but not the extreme heat we've had,'' Nicholls said.
Temperatures in the 80s (Fahrenheit) are expected in the Midwest for the next several days, rather than the 90s F and low 100s F that have been slashing corn and soybean production prospects.
The worst drought in over a half-century has spread to the U.S. Delta crop region in the lower Mississippi, where vast areas of soybeans, cotton and rice are grown.
Corn and soybean prices were driven to record highs in late July as the drought worsened, trimming crop production. Prospects for the U.S. corn crop have been cut to a five-year low by the drought. The supply of corn next year is expected to fall to its lowest level in nearly 20 years.
Commodity Weather Group (CWG) said August 8 that the weather models on which the forecasts are based were in some disagreement on Wednesday about the amount of moisture the Midwest is likely to receive over the next couple of days. The dueling forecasts led to some skepticism that significant rains would fall.