While many areas in the eastern half of the nation are getting relief from heat, the landscape around the Midwest is behaving like a desert.
Spotty thunderstorms will make their way into part of the Midwest into the weekend and beyond. However, in areas where the rain does not fall, more extreme temperatures are in store.
Areas from Arkansas to part of the Ohio Valley, as well as portions of the northern Plains are likely to be on the receiving end of localized downpours moving forward.
Unfortunately, many places within this zone will be missed by nature's rainfall selections. A large swath from Kansas to Iowa, Nebraska and parts of Illinois and Missouri could go through next week with nary a drop of rain.
According to Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler, "The dry ground is allowing the sun to squeeze every degree out of the air mass in the Midwest."
A similar weather pattern with moist ground may yield highs in only the low to mid-80s. However, since the ground is very dry, essentially behaving like sand in the desert, high temperatures are reaching well into the 90s in many areas, despite air originating from Canada.
Spells of heat and a couple of weeks of little or no rain are not unusual during the summer. However, the severity of both this year in a large part of the Midwest are stressing crops to the point where they may no longer produce fruit.
To make matters worse, the high pressure system that shifted to the west this week is showing signs of redeveloping over the Plains next week. As a result, 90-degree temperatures will again be replaced by reading of 100 degrees or more in areas that miss out on rain into the weekend.
The pattern is more bad news for area agriculture, and if it continues through the summer, there could be serious problems with water supplies as well.
This map shows the hydrological conditions across the United States as of June 2012. Since the end of June, hydrological conditions as well as soil moisture have deteriorated considerably over much of the Midwest due to a number of 100-degree days and a lack of rain.
Central areas of the corn belt, like the southern areas in recent weeks, are now being subject to the same harsh conditions.
Problems could expand into northern areas of the corn belt as well, if the drought and heat continued to build in the region.
"If sufficient rains do not come soon, there may be serious problems for the other cash crop grown in the Midwest: soybeans," Mohler said.
A storm will bring snow and ice that will lead to slippery travel along a 1,500-mile swath from northern Arkansas and Georgia to Maine early next week.
Spring of 2016 could rank in the top 10 warmest on record for Canada.
The coldest air of the winter will plunge southward across much of the eastern United States and will feature single-digit and sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast during Valentine's Day weekend.
A blast of arctic air will be accompanied by flurries and even a localized wall of snow in some communities in the Northeast and parts of the Midwest at the start of the Valentine's Day weekend.
The next windstorm to target Europe will narrowly miss the United Kingdom on Saturday before a cold snap settles in for Valentine’s Day and Monday.
Passengers on the latest voyage of Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas faced the complete opposite of a care-free, relaxing experience after an encounter with a ferocious storm in the Atlantic.
Mid Atlantic (1983)
Blizzard of 83 struck hard. Philadelphia, PA picks up 21.3' of snow, the third greatest snowfall ever recorded. 22.8" fell in Baltimore, MD. 25.2" of snow in Allentown, PA with thunder and lightening. Snow in Allentown fell at rate of 5" per hour at height of the storm. 30" bury Harper's Ferry WV. 16.6" of snow blankets the nation's capital. 22" of snow fell at NYC's La Guardia Airport.
Chicago, IL (1999)
70 degrees, new record high for date.
Alpine Meadows, CA (2001)
As much as 75 inches of snow over past 3 days.