Climatologist doesn’t expect any early end to warm weather
August 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
People across the state are wondering how much longer will the drought and extreme high temperatures continue. Iowa State University Extension Climatologist Elwynn Taylor says there are not many signs indicating a change in the current weather patterns. “We’ve switched from the second-strongest La Nina event in recorded history — that’s a little over 100 years — to neutral. We haven’t quite moved into that El Nino, we’re right at the edge of it, some people say ‘I don’t believe we’ll make it’, some say ‘I don’t believe we will’,” Taylor explains. He says these are people who know something about the weather pattern, so right now we are left with an unknown.
Taylor says many people are hoping the weather will return to an El Nino weather pattern. “El Nino is kind of the friend of the midwest farmer. Under El Nino things just aren’t extreme. The high temperatures aren’t so much higher than normal, the cold temperatures aren’t so much colder than normal, and normal is not bad for crops when you are in Iowa and the midwest in general,” Taylor explains. The extreme heat returned after a short reprieve, but will it go away for good anytime soon? “Well we just can’t tell in a year like this. Just when we’re thinking it’s over, it’s still with us,” Taylor says. “The National Weather Service feels that it will be ending toward the end of September, so we’ve still got a calendar month to go.”
The climatologist was a featured speaker at the Farm Progress Show near Boone. He says Iowa needs at least four inches of precipitation before the winter freeze, or around November 15th. He says an additional three inches of rain will be needed in the spring.