A Check at the Weather

Cattle grazing on green grass under a stormy sky
15 Feb 2023

For the past several years La Nina has influenced weather patterns across the United States and regional farmers have endured the volatile consequences. After several disruptive growing seasons, this summer will likely be more “typical.”

El Nino generally provides a below normal precipitation bias across the norther plains. In addition, that’s normally good news for growers in Argentina and California. 
Signs of La Nina slowing down are strong, and evidence of El Nino returning later this summer is mounting. El Nino occurs when sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean become warmer than normal.

Regardless, we will likely enter a “neutral” period where El Nino relaxes and heat from the south has a better chance of migrating northward. As a result, temperatures across our region tend to be near to above normal with at to below-normal rainfall as the Polar Jet Stream meanders further north.

As spring planting season approaches, we are monitoring snow cover across the region, which ranges from 2” to 16” in most locations north of Mason City, Iowa. That translates to about 2” to 20” of water equivalent moisture. That places the risk of spring flooding near to above normal along the major rivers across the regions and increases the prospects for flooding along the Mississippi River.

Of course, winter snowfall largely “runs off” the soil and spring rains are the true test of how well we enter the growing seasons. The 90-day outlook suggests near to above normal rainfall across the region through early May. 

The water holding capacity of soil across our region is incredibly good. Even if summer heat and erratic rainfall become an issue, prospects for a good growing season are strong. Modern genetics of corn crops also play an important role in crop durability.

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Written By: Steve Wohlenhaus
Steve Wohlenhaus is CEO of Weatherology, the leading company in the world in disseminating audio weather information. Steve began his career as a major market television weather anchor in Minneapolis, where he received several Emmy Awards for science programming. Steve is an author and host of the podcast program Anatomy of Success. Steve has been named a top 50 influencer in the world on LinkedIn in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Learn more about his work and grab the free Weatherology mobile app by visiting www.weatherology.com.