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Livestock Wx for 9-27-18: El Niño on the way? If so, what does it mean?
Here at Livestock Wx we continue to monitor the conditions that could lead to the formation of El Niño this fall or winter. A typical El Niño usually results in a warmer northern tier of the U.S. and a wetter southern tier. The images below show the risk of drier/wetter or warmer/cooler conditions during a typical El Niño winter. CattleFax and others have pointed out an El Niño influenced pattern would be good for stocker grazing conditions across Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It could also be problematic for feedlot operators and affect cattle performance in those feedlots.
What should be noted, however, is that the forecasts are not calling for a typical El Niño fall/winter. They are expecting a WEAK El Niño, which may or may not produce a temperature and precipitation pattern we expect. We looked at six different weak El Niño events and the precipitation patterns for the U.S. (image below). There doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern in that some years winter has been wet while others it has been particularly dry. This likely has to do with simple variability in our weather patterns since a weak El Niño likely lacks enough of a punch to influence our atmospheric patterns in the same way a moderate or strong El Niño event does.
The bottom line is to continue monitoring the short and medium-range forecasts. Right now, the Southern Plains seems to have shifted to a much wetter pattern. Let’s hope that continues for now!
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