NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center came out with their latest outlook today. The outlook for November shows equal chances of above, near or below normal temperatures but drier than normal conditions are somewhat more likely. Since most of the next three weeks are expected to be colder than average it may mean they think a return to warmer conditions will occur in the second half of November, or they may just not have any indication one way or another so far out.
The three-month outlook shows a classic La Niña pattern with a band of drier than normal conditions expected across the southern US. Much of the US is expected to have above normal temperatures for the third winter in a row, which reflects a combination of the La Niña and the long-term trend to warmer temperatures which we have seen since the 1960’s.
Warm and dry conditions this winter do not bode well for farmers. It could mean another winter of low chill hours and an increase in pests for next year if more are able to survive the warmer conditions. It could also mean dry soil in spring for planting, which is a problem if you need moisture for germination. But since these outlooks are based on percentages, we could beat the odds and have something very different. We’ll all be watching to see what happens.