On December 5, I wrote a post called Drought Concerns. In that posting, I expressed the concern the central United States might be headed into a period of seriously dry weather. Unfortunately, that forecast was validated by subsequent events.
Here is the USDA's map of drought conditions superimposed over the winter wheat producing areas.
Even if substantial rains were to begin falling today (they won't), the wheat has been damaged. This is important for people outside of the region due to the production of beef and wheat in the southern half of the Great Plains.
In an increasingly large area, the drought is severe (red).
The map below puts this in some perspective:
The (Mostly) Good News
Now for my new forecast: I believe we are going to move to a period of above normal rainfall in the Central United States from about the first of March through at least Independence Day. However, this not entirely good news: flooding is a significant worry over the Ohio Valley region for at least the next two weeks.
It is always going out on the limb to call a switch from dry to wetter and vice versa. However, I am going to make this call because I believe it is important. Cross your fingers for me!
The latest Canadian, U.S. and European global models all look very similar today with a rainfall pattern about like this. I have chosen the European model to illustrate the pattern change.
|click to enlarge|
In addition, there is a series of storms headed to the Central U.S. and the high pressure system that was blocking them has moved out of the way. The map below shows a storm -- ten days from now -- in this series moving in a promising direction.
So, things are looking up a bit. I'll continue to periodically update this situation.