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Ag. Weather Outlook 2-20-2014

by Tim Abramowski

There was static from a not too distant thunderstorm on my car radio’s AM band this morning. That has to be a sign of spring.  Well, what it more likely has to be involves me grasping at straws looking for a sign of spring. One surge of warmer southern air after months featuring blasts from the opposite direction does not a new season make.  What it does make is for a wild day over the Midwest with a menu of snow, freezing drizzle, intense rain, high wind, a blizzard for parts of Wisconsin and the U-P and strong thunderstorms for parts of the Ohio valley.  Come to think of it - at this point in the winter a static-free AM band may be preferable.  Now the question becomes, ‘what will it be like come spring planting?’  The kinds of extreme events we’re seeing today are only the latest in a too long list going back to last fall’s Colorado floods, South Dakota’s October blizzard, Illinois’ November tornadoes and everybody’s epic winter.  Since ocean temperatures are a big driver of seasonal trends and an El Nino isn’t likely until mid-summer many climate scientists say there’s an equal chance of above or below normal moisture for our planting season plus a slower warm up for that time period.  To that, add a concern by some involving snow-buried fields and the possibility of a slow melt delaying planting.

We’ll worry about that after focusing on a current flooding danger indirectly related to all of that AM static.

Rick Shields