Drought may expand its grip on north-central US this summer

Drought conditions over the northern Plains may expand across more of the north-central United States as the summer progresses.
Most summer rainfall over the U.S. Great Plains is produced by large complexes of thunderstorms during the summer.
"We expect a large area of high pressure to become a semi-permanent feature over the Central states this summer," according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
"If the high pressure area develops as we believe, the large complexes of thunderstorms will be lacking, rainfall will be limited and heat will build to well above-average levels," Pastelok said.
Considering the high evaporation rates in the summer, not enough rain may fall to avoid a broad expanding area of drought in parts of the central Plains and Midwest.
"The area where we are most concerned about drought conditions developing and expanding as the summer progresses is eastern Nebraska, Iowa, northern Missouri, South Dakota, southern Minnesota and perhaps parts of eastern Kansas," Pastelok said.
The drought could become significant enough to impact agriculture in the region, including the corn crop.
There has been some rain in part of the area over the past 10 days, and some additional rain will fall over the next week or so.
For most of the region, the critical time for corn is during July, according to AccuWeather’s team of agricultural meteorologists.
However, even one complex of drenching thunderstorms can have a positive effect on corn and other crops during July.

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