Climate expert sees La Nina conditions through 2022, early 2023

An ag meteorologist says La Nina weather conditions will likely persist through the rest of the year and even into 2023.

Eric Snodgrass with Nutrien Ag Solutions tells Brownfield areas of the Central and Western Corn Belt will stay hot and dry through August. “It’s just a matter of when it breaks down, do we get the necessary moisture in place to take advantage of that to get some rain?” he says. “In between, it gets pretty hot and flash drought conditions, I mean we see evaporation rates above three inches per week when you get these temperatures this hot throughout the Central Plains.”

He says areas of the Eastern Corn Belt could stay wetter and cooler than normal through the summer. “Then you get over into parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Indiana and even Illinois into Kentucky and Tennessee, you tend to get these storms flowing out of the Northwest,” he says. “They often produce linear features like long squall lines, but they deliver the rain.”

The Delta region, Snodgrass says, could get hotter and drier through July. “Then that means you dry that air over the Delta when the moisture does try to return, the Delta will take that first. It doesn’t advance back up to the Midwest. I’m going to watch that carefully, but the Delta has another avenue by which to get moisture should they get dry.  That comes from tropical systems.”

He says that La Nina makes the Gulf of Mexico more conducive for tropical storms.

But, Snodgrass says, if the weather system starts father west and moves east, “That’s going to spread that drought risk out over the larger area, which means I can’t really identify one part of the Corn Belt and say ‘no, you’re going to be protected in this pattern while other places are going to suffer.’ I think there could be risks across the whole of it with this particular set up.”

Snodgrass says it’s very rare for the U.S. to experience three-straight La Nina seasons and the last time was 1998-2000.

Eric Snodgrass, atmospheric scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions:

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