Tropical storm unlikely to relieve Midwest drought

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Although some in the drought-ravaged Midwest are casting a hopeful eye at Hurricane Isaac, meteorologists say that the storm likely will bring minimal relief from the worst U.S. drought in more than half a century.

"Computer maps have been all over the place, but it looks like the storm will make landfall in Florida Sunday. That would bring the most rain, probably an inch to four inches or more in the Southeast," World Weather Inc. meteorologist Andy Karst told Reuters.

The southwest portion of the Midwest, including eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and southern Iowa, should receive a half-inch to an inch or more of rain from Saturday through Monday, with lighter showers in the balance of the Midwest, Karst told Reuters.

But confidence in that scenario is low; for now it looks as if Isaac will hit land first in the Florida Panhandle, Karst said.

"[Isaac] will provide minimal drought relief since it will turn warmer and drier again next week," he said.

The Commodity Weather Group said Friday that Isaac appeared most likely to track a bit farther west, with landfall as a hurricane by Tuesday or Wednesday along the Gulf Coast, possibly in Alabama or Mississippi.

Confidence was still low about the exact track of the storm, but the heaviest rains appear more likely to focus on Alabama, Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley than the Southeast, based on Friday's forecast, CWG said.

Torrential rainfall and wind, though adding valuable soil moisture for fall wheat seeding, could harm some of the early-maturing corn and soybean crops that have been weakened by the worst summer drought in half a century.

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