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Thursday the latest version of the drought monitor was issued and as expected there was a bit of good news, especially in my southern counties. In that area thanks to recent rain, the amount of severe drought decreased and was replaced with moderate drought. The outlook was prepared July 4th and more rain has fallen since then in the SE half of my area so next week may show greater improvement than the current outlook indicates, especially if we can get some rain this weekend. Much of my northern counties missed the beneficial rain and severe drought remains and has actually increased. Parts of SC Wisconsin around Madison have even entered extreme drought status.

Below is the comparison of the latest outlook to June 24th. The northward expansion of moderate drought is evident.

Across the Midwest the overall numbers from abnormally dry to extreme drought changed little with the worsening conditions in the north offset by the improving situation on the south. We're essentially in a holding pattern awaiting what happens with rain over the next few days.

Heading into the weekend high pressure is showing signs of pushing east allowing moisture to creep back into the pattern. That will become a key ingredient in rain chances late Friday, especially Friday night when a short wave dives southeast into the Midwest. The depth of moisture the energy has to work with will determine how much rain can invade my area. The general trend the past 24 hours has been for the development of a surface low that tracks though central Illinois. Frontogenetic forcing creates a deformation band of heavier rain that cuts through some part of my area Friday night. Models are really struggling with the placement of the primary rain band and confidence is low considering the event is less than 24 hours away. Rain is definitely looking more likely but it may not be until later Friday that we get a consensus on where and how much will fall. Meantime, here's what models are suggesting for rainfall potential. As you can see, there's a wide range of options. I still think the southern half of my area has the best chance of seeing the higher rainfall totals with its access to deeper moisture but I'm far from certain that will end up being the case. This is a tough one.



The 3k NAM

The 12K NAM

The WPC Outlook

The National Blend of Models

Whatever becomes of this system as a rain producer, it looks to be out of the region early Saturday and the rest of the weekend appears quiet and comfortable. After highs in the 70s Friday, readings in the upper 70s to low 80s are expected Saturday with more seasonal low to mid 80s Sunday.

Next week another push of cool Canadian air descends on the Midwest bringing a shower and thunderstorm threat that has some merit around Tuesday. Timing the details at this distance is a challenge but there appears to be multiple factors in place that could provide the area with decent rain coverage and rainfall amounts Tuesday-Wednesday. I will be watching.

Last but not least, both the EURO and GFS are signaling a heat dome building in the period July 18-21st. That's a climatological time of year for heat which adds a little extra confidence to these early trends. It's also when corn is at peak evapotranspiration, adding humidity to what should already be a steamy air mass. On the negative side, models have shown this trend in the long range several times in the past 2 weeks and then back down in later runs. The tendency for sympathetic troughing has been strong the past 2 months so I will believe the heat when I see it in short term guidance (days 2-5). It will be interesting to watch where this all goes in coming days. Here's the highs the EURO and GFS indicate July 21st.



Well, that's where we stand going into your weekend. Make it a good one and roll weather...TS



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