Farm Progress

Three-month forecast shows continued dry in southwestern US, but good moisture chances in north and Corn Belt.

Alan Newport, Editor, Beef Producer

March 13, 2018

1 Min Read
National Weather Service forecasters are predicting current conditions will lead to more droughtiness in the southwestern US.NOAA

The drought in the southwestern US, combined with neutral ocean temperatures, has weather forecasters calling for a dry and warm spring.

This at least suggests the possibility of inadequate forage conditions across a significant swath of cattle country, but the forecast maps show above-average chances for rain in the northern US and the Corn Belt.

The most recent forecasts from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center explain the La Nina phase appears ending, and ocean temperatures in the Pacific, which can be a major driver of weather patterns in the US, are switching to what the forecasters describe as an "ENSO-neutral" condition. This means neither La Nina nor El Nino are in effect. ENSO is the acronym for El Nino Southern Oscillation. To read about how these two conditions may affect your part of the country, go to this link.

The climate prediction center explains, "During ENSO-neutral periods the ocean temperaturestropical rainfall patterns, and atmospheric winds over the equatorial Pacific Ocean are near the long-term average."

This is for the March-through-May time period, and the forecasters further suggest this ENSO-neutral condition could last through the rest of the year.

A study of current drought conditions and predictions shows dry conditions on the continent and a probable lack of soil moisture for plants to use and respire into the air will further aggravate the dryness.


About the Author(s)

Alan Newport

Editor, Beef Producer

Alan Newport is editor of Beef Producer, a national magazine with editorial content specifically targeted at beef production for Farm Progress’s 17 state and regional farm publications. Beef Producer appears as an insert in these magazines for readers with 50 head or more of beef cattle. Newport lives in north-central Oklahoma and travels the U.S. to meet producers and to chase down the latest and best information about the beef industry.

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