By Don Day, Jr., Meteorologist
The last couple days of June and first few days of July have brought the hottest temperatures of the summer so far to most of the nation. In addition to the heat, there has also been rainfall, at times quite heavy in parts of the Midwest.
This past weekend while temperatures soared into the 90s and 100s with very high heat indexes there were outbreaks of heavy thunderstorm activity that brought over ten inches of rain to the Des Moines, Iowa area.
The heat and dryness brought the fire activity up again in the Rockies and Desert Southwest as the heat spread eastward into the Midwest and East Coast areas.
Will the extreme heat hold? Currently the heat wave looks to be fleeting as portions of the central U.S. in the heat now will see some cooling. The graphic below shows the temperature pattern over the next week (through July 9). The blue areas in the High Plains, Southern Plains and Southeast state show areas of cooling. Notice the heat holds a bit long in the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest as well as areas west of the Continental Divide.
Looking beyond the next week and out to two weeks we can see a bit more of an even temperature pattern across North America. By the middle of July the core of the heat is more directed to the Pacific Northwest and West Coast while cooler than normal temperatures will be found in the Southern Rockies and Southern Plains. The white areas in the Corn Belt and Midwest show near normal temperatures returning by the middle of July.