Cold Air Dominates But Will El Nino Fade?

Winter Cow
16 Jan 2024

Our recent weather pattern serves as a reminder that despite the influence of El Nino, winter does still periodically flex its muscles. Cold air and higher stress on livestock spread back into the area by early January, and some welcomed snow cover decorated many farm fields across the region. In fact, most of the northern tier of states across the country received measurable snowfall, with heavy snow accumulating in the mountainous regions out west. However, the overall winter pattern has remained true to our earlier predictions of mostly mild and surprisingly snow free.

There’s evidence that El Nino will start to abate heading into early spring. What does that mean? For grain farmers it will likely be welcome news.  For cattle producers, feedlot operations may be negatively affected.

During strong El Nino events that stretch into spring and summer, often drier conditions prevail. These recent developments may reduce the risk of lower rainfall amounts heading into the critical 2024 growing season.

Top and subsoil moistures maps show significant deficits across much of Iowa, Wisconsin, and southwestern Minnesota. Conditions improve across central and northern Minnesota and across the Dakotas. It’s still dry across portions of the northern Red River Valley.

In the interim, long range prediction models continue to accentuate the influence of El Nino. Most 30 to 90 days outlooks we’ve compiled suggest more of the same with generally warmer and drier winter conditions.

Across Argentina and Brazil, widespread showers provided welcome relief from excessive dryness across much of the primary growing regions. A multi-year drought has adversely impacted these areas, so the recent rain was signs of an encouraging trend.    

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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, 2022, and 2023. Learn more about his work and grab the free Weatherology mobile app by visiting