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Wild weather on the horizon?

(CIFN file photo)

This could be a big year for severe weather and even drought-like conditions.

Eric Snodgrass of Agrible in Champaign is concerned with pre-planting drought conditions stretching from Texas to the Dakotas. In 2016, the nation only had extreme dry conditions west of the Rockies. This year is shaping up to be different.

“Right now, there is some pre-season drought we didn’t have in 2016,” Snodgrass told farmers attending this week’s All Day Ag Outlook Meeting sponsored by Illinois Public Media. “You need to be watching this very closely.”

During his informational presentation, Snodgrass cautioned growers that we are not done with winter just yet, as there is snow in the forecast for the weekend. So far, the 2016-17 winter has been different from the previous year. Snodgrass notes a very strong Pacific Jetstream which could lead to some severe weather early on in the growing season.

Also, a weak to moderate El Nino weather pattern could develop this year but it will not impact our summer weather very much. The entire month of February was a solid eight degrees warmer than average for Illinois.

“I am seeing a continuation of a very active weather pattern in the coming weeks,” Snodgrass added.

Longer-term, March looks volatile and Snodgrass is having a difficult time forecasting the second half of the month. He wouldn’t be surprised if March takes us on a “wild ride” with temperatures. The April-June period is expected to be warmer than average with a warm bias forecasted for summer.

Snodgrass does not foresee any major precipitation stresses for the 2017 growing season. This year will likely not be as fantastic as 2014 but not as bad as 2012.

“You’ve still got to put that crop in the ground,” Snodgrass said.

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