Sponsored By
Farm Progress

Strongest El Nino in nearly 20 years will impact Indiana winterStrongest El Nino in nearly 20 years will impact Indiana winter

Trend points to mild winter, but nothing is certain with weather!

Tom Bechman 1

October 15, 2015

2 Min Read

Ken Scheeringa says it's worth taking a look at what the National Weather Service says about the El Nino trend still building in the tropical Pacific Ocean. After checking out the reports for ourselves, we agree. It could be a clue to what type of winter we will see in Indiana.

NWS currently is forecasting this El Nino to wind up similar in strength to two previous strong El Nino events, one in 1982 and one in 1997. Both produced relatively mild winters. You can check out these images for yourself online.

Tough year for snow lovers? If the NWS forecast about a strong El Nino is right, there may be less snow this winter in Indiana. But then again, remember this is about weathermen forecasting three months out!

If the long-term forecasters are right, you may not want to rush out and buy sun tan lotion, but you may not need to invest in super-heavy winter coats either. If you've got a snow blower or snowmobile to sell, you might want to do it now. If you're in the market to buy one or both, maybe you can wait for bargains once winter reveals there won't be a lot of snow.

It's a weather fact backed by data that during most El Nino winters, Indiana sees higher than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation. That typically results in fewer snow events, and lower snowfall totals. Typically the snowfall totals are less than normal for any one part of the state.

Before you book reservations on the Dunes on Lake Michigan in northern Indiana for your Christmas Holiday, you might consider this: NWS added a disclaimer in fine print in their most recent report on the El Nino situation.

While this current El Nino may be as strong or stronger than the previous two strongest El Ninos since 1950, mentioned above, there is a difference. This one also features warmer sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean farther north than is typically seen.

Some people who make a living studying these types of things say we had similar conditions in those areas over the past two winters, which provided plenty of cold, snowy weather. We didn't have the typical El Nino in tropical waters to go with it.

So will the warmer waters farther north than usual offset the El Nino? No clue! That's why Mother Nature is still Mother Nature, despite all the modern technology we have.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like