Winter will likely be colder than normal, the spring later than last year and the spring and summer precipitation may be average - but average is a lot drier than what people have been used for the past 20 years, says Leon Osborne, a University of North Dakota meteorologist and president of Meridian Technologies, Grand Forks, N.D.
“The wet cycle is over,” he says.
It will still rain periodically through the spring and summer, Osborne told farmers gathered at the recent Prairie Grains Conference. But the trend will be for it to rain less at one time than in in the past. Half inch rains will be ¼ inch rains; 1-inch rains will be 1/2 -inch rains.
Because last year’s drought dried out the soil across the Great Plains, there won’t likely be enough moisture in the air to produce the heavy downpours from thunderstorms as in previous years, Osborne says.
Whatever moisture develops will have to come over the mountains from the West or up from the Gulf of Mexico.
“We won’t have the feedback from all the moisture in the soil,” he said.