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I'm back in good old Iowa concluding my annual storm chase to the Plains. On my arrival home I was surprised to see how much the yards had burned around much of my area due to the warmth and dry conditions of the past week. When I left my house the grass had that emerald green color that only comes early in the growing season or in very wet years. Now it's crispy and getting yellow and crunchy, more typical of what you would see in July or August.

Here's the rainfall departure for the month of June. Much of my area seeing only 2-10 percent of average.

Along with the dryness has been the continuation of well above normal temperatures. Most of the central Midwest was measured temperatures 4-10 degrees above normal over the period May 31 to June 6th. That does not include Thursday's high of 88 here in Cedar Rapids. Burlington, Iowa hit 91. Normal highs are around 78.

I guess it's not surprising the combination of "July temperatures" and meager rainfall has rapidly depleted top soil moisture. The U.S. drought monitor shows a growing area of moderate to severe drought conditions covering much of southern Iowa, northern Missouri and central Illinois.

Soil moisture anomalies are 100% lower than average from southern Iowa southwest into Oklahoma.

Look how dramatically soil moisture levels have dropped around my area in just the past week

Obviously some rain would be welcome and it looks like the potential is there. Most models are depicting a ring of fire pattern across some part of the Midwest. This is where the hot steamy air will clash with cooler drier air established further north. That creates an active storm track with the likelihood of heavy rain wherever that sets-up. Multiple MCS events (mesoscale convective systems) are also on the table.

The GFS came in with this for 16 day rainfall totals. Some big numbers in places that really need it. In fact, if the model would verify it would be too much of a good thing where 6-12" totals are depicted over southern Iowa, SE Nebraska, NW MIssouri, and parts of central Illinois.

The EURO ensemble rainfall means over the next 15 days show this. Not as heavy but still generous over the central Midwest.

To sum it up, if you need rain there's an excellent chance you're going to get some healthy amounts in the next couple of weeks. The trends are strong the actual amounts not so much. We'll be able to fine tune the details in coming days. Roll weather.....TS

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