It has been a warm and dry, fall but what is ahead for the winter? “This winter we are looking at below average temperatures and above average moisture for the Eastern Corn Belt,” says Eric Snodgrass atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois. He sees a very active storm track this winter for the Ohio River Valley, “This will mean more precipitation, not necessarily more snow but more moisture in the soil; a good start to the planting season next year.”
Dev Niyogi, professor of agronomy and state climatologist at Purdue, says Southern Indiana may be drier than the rest of the state this winter. “Southern Indiana has an outlook for equal chances of above normal or below amounts and will likely stay within the below-normal rain pattern if we follow the persistence of the current dry conditions there,” Niyogi said. “Northern and central Indiana may be wetter than normal. The upper wind pattern associated with La Nina along with the dry soils in states south of Indiana figure into the specific tendency for Southern Indiana.” Normal winter precipitation in Indiana is about 2.9 inches in December, 2.2 inches in January, and 2 inches in February. This includes normal melted snowfall equivalent amounts. Normal snowfall can vary widely from just 10 inches in extreme southwest Indiana to more than 70 inches in the South Bend area where the lake effect is greatest.
State climatologists say there is about a 70 percent chance that a La Nina system will arrive yet this autumn. Forecasters believe the system will be relatively weak and short-lived. Neutral conditions are expected to return by spring. A short, weak La Nina system could help limit extremes in temperature and precipitation this winter, said Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist.
What about next summer? Snodgrass says, at this distance, the summer of 2017 will probably look a lot like the summer of 2016, “Right now we are seeing a bit of a warm bias for next summer, but we are not seeing any moisture stress on top of that.” He says the data indicates a warm and wet summer, very similar to 2016, “At this point I do not see a lot of weather stress on crops.”
He also sees a good growing season for South America and says Brazil’s production will likely be up.