U.S. Midwest May Remain Hot, Dry Through Early August

Iowa, Illinois and the central U.S. Midwest may remain hot and dry for at least the next two weeks.

Temperatures may remain 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.4 Celsius) above normal over an area centered mainly on Iowa, Missouri and Illinois until Aug. 6, while rainfall lags behind normal, said Joel Widenor, co-founder of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Highs in the 100s will be common today and Wednesday for the central and southwestern Midwest, adding to yield losses for filling corn and pod-setting soy,” Widenor said.

Corn prices have risen more than 55 percent since June 15, signaling higher food prices and boosting expenses for producers of livestock feed and ethanol, because of the expanding drought across the Midwest.

Drought now affects 78 percent of the U.S. corn crop, the world’s largest, and prompted the Agriculture Department on July 11 to cut this year’s estimated harvest by 12 percent. Both soybean and corn fields are in their worst shape since 1988.

While the heat remains focused on the Midwest, temperatures along the East Coast may be seasonal from July 28 to Aug. 1 before warming about 3 to 4 degrees above normal from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6, according to MDA EarthSat Weather.

The West Coast is expected to remain seasonal through Aug. 6, said Gaithersburg, Maryland-based MDA.

Those temperatures will keep energy use for cooling at about normal levels or 10 percent higher from July 24 to July 30, said David Salmon, owner of Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri. The Midwest is likely to use 30 to 60 percent more energy to cool homes and businesses during the same period.

The normal average temperature in New York for Aug. 1 is 78, according to MDA. It’s 74 in Boston; 80 in Washington; 85 in Houston; 76 in Chicago; 80 in Atlanta; 67 in Seattle and 76 in Burbank, California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bill Banker at bbanker@bloomberg.net

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