El Nino Update
El Nino is getting into the news more and more over the past several weeks and for good reason. Water temperatures in the subtropical Pacific continue to advertise the development of a strong El Nino.
Unfortunately, as is the case in many weather and climate related events there are differing opinions on the strength and longevity of the coming El Nino this fall and winter season. Some in the media are suggesting that this could be the strongest El Nino ever. This is far from the truth, while this El Nino will be the strongest since the Super El Nino of 1998 it will fall short of the 1998 El Nino in terms of intensity and duration.
That said, expect the El Nino of 2015 and early 2016 to be the strongest El Nino since 1998 and its impacts will be far ranging. As we have mentioned in previous posts, enhanced rainfall in the far west and southwestern U.S. will be likely. The news is still looking good for beef producers in the far west, including California, Arizona and the Southern Plains and Southern Rockies. Those areas will have enhanced rainfall and snowfall this season. Bigger rains will also be likely for areas in the southeastern U.S.
There is good news and bad news for beef producers in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies and the northern Plains. The good news is that winter temperatures, especially between November and January will likely be above normal and prolonged severe cold is not likely or will not last for long. However, during that same time frame the above mentioned areas will have below normal rainfall and snowfall, especially in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana east into North Dakota.
Good rainfall in central and southern California looks to be a good bet this winter with northern California’s rain potential a little less known at the moment.
One important aspect of a strong El Nino setup is the that the most harsh winter storms happen at the tail end of the winter season and beef producers should anticipate that while the start of the winter season may be warmer and more mild that the end of the season, especially late February through May could bring colder and stormy weather conditions to many areas of the central, west and south.