Politicians, Hare Krishnas and others prayed for rain to end the crop-killing drought, which snuffed Fourth of July fireworks in communities worried the holiday tradition might start fires.
Crews fought forest fires in Wyoming, Michigan, California and Washington state.Thunderstorms fell Sunday in Montana and parts of the Gulf Coast. Monday's forecast called for scattered showers and thunderstorms in many parts of the nation - except the parched Midwest.
In Minnesota, the Hare Krishna League of Devotees of Minneapolis performed an emergency rain dance and chanting session Sunday.
"The drought is God's arrangement that we don't forget about him," said Krishna-Katha, the group's president. "Science and economics can't make it rain - not even Ronald Reagan can. Only God can make it rain."
The drought has left Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis bone dry. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Laughing Waters of Minnehaha Falls couldn't even manage a smirk Sunday as the robed dancers sang above. The famous falls barely dripped.
Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson declared Sunday "a statewide day of prayer for rain" in Illinois.
"The people of this state need to come to their senses and their knees to seek an end to the drought," said Illinois' Assistant House Minority Leader Penny Pullen. But no rain is forecast for the state through Friday.
Many farmers already are praying for relief as hard as they can, said an Indiana priest.
"People make more of an attempt for a deeper prayer life because of this, because it's a challenge," said the Rev. John Boeglin.
Hot, dry weather that left northwestern Wyoming forests tinder-dry helped fires in Yellowstone National Park and adjacent Shoshone National Forest grow to more than 3,000 acres Sunday, officials said.
Bans on fireworks were in place in sections of Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, Kentucky, Tennessee, California and elsewhere.