Rain soaked much of the Upper Midwest, providing a generally favorable boost in soil moisture for corn and soybeans in areas where little rain had fallen during the first half of August. Scattered showers dotted the remainder of the Corn Belt, accompanied by a turn toward cooler weather. In fact, below-normal temperatures dominated the Plains, mid-South, and upper Midwest, where weekly temperatures averaged as much as 5 to 10°F below normal.
Meanwhile, widespread showers were also noted in several other areas, including the Plains and the South. In the latter region, rain arrived too late to benefit some summer crops but improved topsoil moisture and helped to revive pastures. On the Plains, rain aided immature crops but temporarily slowed fieldwork, including spring wheat harvest activities.
Elsewhere, mostly dry weather prevailed in the West, except for a few showers in Arizona and the central and southern Rockies. Despite a spell of cooler weather, much of the interior Northwest continued to experience degraded air quality due to wildfire smoke. In addition, lightning strikes, erratic winds, and underlying drought contributed to Northwestern wildfire ignition and expansion. Through August 23, the nation’s year-to-date total of nearly 7.5 million acres of vegetation burned by wildfires was 143 percent of the 10-year average.