It’s been a hot summer across much of the United States and drought conditions have enveloped most of the country from the Mississippi River westward. From southern Minnesota across South Dakota, central and western Iowa into Kansas and Nebraska, conditions are dry to extremely dry in some places. Recent rainfall has aided sub and topsoil moisture across the remainder of the region.
The high plains have also benefitted from recent precipitation. About 24% of the soybean crop and 28% of the corn crop is being affected by drought conditions throughout the Midwest.
Through mid-August, temperatures were beginning to cool across the upper Midwest, which could be a premonition of things to come. The 30-day forecast is suggesting much of the extreme heat will stay south of Iowa leaving the majority of the upper Midwest in a seasonal flow that should inhibit extremes.
At the same time, rainfall amounts will likely stay at to below normal across the region. In fact, the 90-day outlook is indicating a similar pattern continuing into the fall.
Regardless of how accurate the Farmer’s Almanac has been, people love to know what the famous publication has to say about the upcoming winter. A series of cold waves appear very likely this winter across our region, which could result in several weeks of bitterly cold conditions. As chilly air pools across the upper Midwest it will spill across the Great Lakes into the Northeastern United States, which could set the stage for some classic nor easter events.
A very active storm track appears to be setting up across our region into the eastern United States, which could deposit above average snowfall this winter. Quick moving “clipper” type systems will likely keep meandering through the upper Midwest, which will shake loose enough snow to keep winter enthusiasts happy.
There is a 70% chance of La Nina continuing into the depths of winter, which would be the third straight year in a row. That’s only happened three times in over 73 years of monitoring these events. La Nina impacts large scale weather patterns, like winter conditions and hurricane season. Historically, that has meant cooler and wetter conditions across our region.
With all the talk about extreme weather events it’s easy for “journalists” to attribute every weather and environmental spectacle to “climate change.” However, our climate does change and one glance at the history books reveals a volatile planet that has experienced extremes.
I encourage folks to explore the facts about this amazing planet, including the science of geology and the complexity of computer modeling. The same limitations that prevent 100% certainty in weather forecasting apply to long-range predications about our climate. It’s a fascinating science based on rough simulations that depend on assumptions predicated on complex interactions with the sun, sea, earth, and computer grids that are often thousands of kilometers apart. It’s inexact, but constantly evolving.