Friday, 11:30 a.m.
In case you hadn't noticed, it has been raining quite a bit in various parts of the country. Even in the Rockies, they are getting some rain, and while the long-term drought is still in place over Colorado and New Mexico, it isn't as bad as it had been.
To give you an idea of just what the past week has done for crop moisture:
Clearly the excessive rains have made an impact on Kansas and southwestern Missouri, as well as northern Arkansas. It's also been wet across much of the South into the Southeast, and while not as excessively wet as it was in June and July, the mid-Atlantic hasn't exactly been dry, either!
In fact, taking that last point and looking at the bigger, long-term drought situation across the country, here's the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released just this morning:
Conditions have improved marginally in parts of the Rockies with the onset of the monsoon season, but the entire region from Texas up to western Kansas and Nebraska then on west into California and Oregon is very dry as a whole. And with the upper-level ridging likely to persist in the Rockies deep into the month, there's little reason to believe there can be any meaningful change in the drought status over the western half of the country. Indeed, as an upper-level ridge strengthens next week, it may act to dry things out and allow temperatures to moderate even higher.
In contrast, it's wet from the central and eastern portions of Kansas on east, and with the western ridge/eastern trough pattern likely to persist through the next two weeks, that west-northwest to northwest flow aloft across the Plains to the Tennessee Valley is likely to generate some showers and thunderstorms from the central Plains downstream. Just take a glance at most any model loop, and there is likely to be several disturbances rolling through the region over a week-long stretch, plenty enough to keep it wet - and cool. And both of these will combine to slow evaporation rates, which means more of it will be given a chance to seep into the ground to keep ground water supplies recharged.
There's lots of cool air around, too. It's plenty cool now in the northern Plains behind the first front, but that's only a small piece of cool air. A second upper-level trough will swing into position Monday:
As opposed to the massive upper-level low that was over northwestern Ontario a few days ago opening up and heading more toward the east and east-northeast, this feature will continue digging southeastward, eventually flattening the ridge off the Southeast coast. Not only will it send cool, dry air southeastward across the Plains and Mississippi Valley to the Appalachians, but over it to the East Coast by the middle of next week. And with a massive surface high slowly but surely moving in across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys toward the East behind the trough later next week, it could easily mean a couple of very cool nights for this time of the year later next week and not just west of the Appalachians.
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Despite a downturn in temperatures in the Northeast, most of the country will remain milder than normal for at least the next week.
Even though there's some snow on the ground over the interior Northeast today, the pattern going forward shows little sign of the winter season to come in most of the nation.
The record warmth of recent days will be replaced by a much colder air mass following a cold front moving from the Ohio Valley to the East. Rain will change to snow in the higher ground of upstate New York and northern New England.
Matthew is a dangerous hurricane bearing down on the east coast of Florida. While it ravages Florida and parts of the Southeast into the weekend, it will spare the Northeast of its fury.