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Livestock Wx for March 16, 2018: La Niña, the long goodbye
La Niña Forecast to Dissipate
As others have reported the La Niña episode, which started last fall, is showing clear signs of diminishing. The fading La Niña is consistent with previous years in that La Niña events tend to fade in the spring. They also have less of a connection to weather patterns in the spring and summer. This is reflected in the NOAA seasonal outlooks that were released on Thursday.
The impending change to neutral conditions, however, is not necessarily helping the pattern over the next three months. Shown below is the precipitation outlook from NOAA. The odds are tilted, from April through June, for below-normal precipitation for a large part of Texas and Oklahoma. Not shown is the temperature outlook. If you take our word for it, it shows a tilt in the odds (60 to 70 percent) of above-normal temperatures over the next three months.
U.S. Drought Outlook
The U.S. Drought Outlook, along with the precipitation and temperature outlooks, were also released on Thursday. The Drought Outlook is based somewhat on a blend of the NOAA precipitation/temperature outlooks and the U.S. Drought Monitor. It is not a surprise, then, that the Drought Outlook (see below) is calling for drought to persists throughout most of Texas and Oklahoma. It also calls for more drought development in Far West and South Texas.
Drought Expansion Likely over the Next 10-Days
We’re working back to front this week: that is going from the forecast down to current observations. Drought (see below) continues to strengthen in the Panhandle and southwest/central Kansas. While it is hard to forecast expansion of specific drought categories we don’t see anything in the next 10-days that will improve the situation in the hardest hit areas. Meanwhile, conditions in these areas have been ideal for wildfires. Wildfire risk will remain high today (Friday) and through most of the weekend due to high wind speeds and low relative humidity values.
That’s it for this week. As always, if you have any questions about conditions around Texas and Oklahoma please contact us at [email protected]