The region's hot weather, combined with scattered, intense showers, was just what marijuana plants needed.

Drug agents in the seven-county Greater Cleveland area reported seizing $804,000 worth of the illicit plants in fields and wooded lots - four times as much as last year. It was the largest haul in Northeast Ohio since 2001.

And police believe that's just a small fraction of what's growing.

The marijuana was seized by sheriff's officers working with state agents to spot the fields from helicopters. The figures do not include busts by local police or marijuana cultivated at people's homes, such as 60 plants discovered last week in Parma.

As marijuana's harvest draws to a close, authorities say Northeast Ohio bucked a statewide trend: In most of Ohio, the hot, dry weather wilted plants.

"You can't just throw a bunch of seeds in the ground and come back months later and expect great plants," said Steve Bloom, editor of High Times magazine, which monitors marijuana growth around the country.

The corn crop is a good barometer, said Scott Duff, who coordinates marijuana seizures for the Ohio attorney general's office.

"If the corn grows, the marijuana grows, too," Duff said. "If it doesn't get the basics, it's not going to grow."

And the corn has grown well in Northeast Ohio, farmers say.

In Cleveland, the average high temperature for June, July and August was 83 degrees, and average rainfall was an inch a week, according to the National Weather Service.

In both Columbus and Cincinnati, the average high temperature was 76 degrees, and they averaged less than an inch of rain a week.

Columbus and Cincinnati each had less than 2 inches of rain for July, but Cleveland had about double that.

Statewide, officials doubt that they will see the $50 million worth of marijuana seized last year. Final statewide figures won't be available for several weeks.

The leading counties in Northeast Ohio were Portage County, where sheriff's deputies seized 200 marijuana plants, and Lorain County, where police pulled 450.

"That's a good amount," said Lorain County sheriff's Capt. Dennis Cavanaugh, leader of the drug task force. "It was a good year, a darn good one."

Meigs County, the state's most prolific marijuana grower, saw the opposite. For several years, Meigs has averaged $7 million in seizures annually. This year, it has $5 million.