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U.S. Midwest May Remain Hot, Dry Through Mid-August

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Much of the Midwest may remain hot and dry through the middle of August, after a month in which more than half the U.S. was covered by drought and temperature records toppled by the thousands.

The Midwest is expected to stay about 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.4 Celsius) above normal through Aug. 15, according to Matt Rogers, Commodity Weather Group LLC president. The area from Iowa south Arkansas, west to Nebraska and Kansas and east to Illinois will probably have below-normal rain through Aug. 15, said Joel Widenor, CWG co-founder.

“While next week sees some back-and-forth variability, we still favor a hot-dominated story with the most severe conditions still over the drought areas of the western Midwest, Plains and nearby parts of the South,” Rogers said.

In July, 4,368 daily high temperature records were set or tied across the U.S. or about 2.6 percent of the total possible, according to National Climatic Data Center statistics. A year ago, 2,755 daily records were set or tied, or 1.5 percent of the total, according to the center in Asheville, North Carolina.

As of last week, at least 63.9 percent of the contiguous 48 states was affected by drought considered moderate or worse. The parched soil has left corn and soybean crops in the worst condition since 1988. Ninety percent of topsoil in six Midwest states was considered short or very short on moisture. In Missouri and Illinois, 99 percent reached that level.

Widenor said he expects above-normal rain to fall from Montana to southern Wisconsin from Aug. 6-10 and in Minnesota from Aug. 11-15. Those showers will probably bypass most of Iowa and Illinois.

Chicago’s high may reach 91 tomorrow and through to the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. St. Louis may reach 102 today and then remain between 100 and the upper 90s for the rest of the week.

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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