Well, I guess the weather predictions were right (at least for now).
If you keep up with the weather news, you know by now that the folks with the meteorological crystal ball have been saying since mid-summer that we were in for a La Nina pattern this winter. I actually wrote about this in an earlier blog, and our good friend Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service has mentioned it several times on our podcast. The conditions have developed in the Eastern Pacific to produce surface water temperatures 3 to 5 degrees lower than normal, resulting in a La Nina phenomenon. This typically leads to higher-than-normal temperatures and lower-than-normal rates of precipitation on the Southern Plains of the U.S.
If you live in Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas, is that what you are currently experiencing?
I know where I live the weather sure has been nice — that is, if you don’t like rain. According to the latest drought monitor, we are either “abnormally dry” or in a “moderate drought” in my part of the world. That’s not terribly unusual, but we are at a point where our winter wheat crop could sure use a drink, and we aren’t alone. Consider the conditions in Denver, Colo. They have yet to have any snow — something that the National Weather Service says hasn’t happened since they started keeping records in 1882.
Now keep in mind, things can change in a hurry. Last year was a La Nina winter, and while we did have overall above normal temperatures, we also had an October ice storm, early December snowstorms and a record cold snap in February. The weather has always been crazy on the Southern Plains, and with climate change, that craziness has been shot full of steroids.
We need to a plan for both droughts and blizzards. I know that seems like a wild swing, but that’s just the reality in this part of the world (for a little more perspective on this and the extreme cold snap last February, check out this interesting interview with Dr. John Nielson-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist). Everyone needs to put a little thought into how they would deal with extreme weather from droughts and floods to blizzards and fires and everything in between. Failing to plan, especially around here, really is planning to fail.
In the meantime, however, enjoy the warm weather, but please pray for a little rain for wheat farmers.