Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Friday 11/28/14

Some weather comments.

As we head into the last few days of November we would like to make a few comments about the weather patterns in both South and North America.

Across South America where most of the interest is right now as it concerns developing corn and soybeans, conditions are looking pretty good. We started off the growing season in Brazil with a delay in the start of the rainy season in the Mato Grosso which delayed soybean planting. This situation continued until about the last 10 days when we have begun to see the onset of the rainy season. It is unlikely that once the rainy season is underway that any significant dryness will return during the remainder of the growing season in this region. The growing areas of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul as well as central Argentina were unfavorably wet earlier in the growing season but we have begun to see a more favorable balance between dry weather and rainfall which has favored both planting and developing corn and soybeans. These areas tend to be more vulnerable to drought during the summer but due to the fact we are in an El Nino pattern that likelihood would be diminished this year.

The month of November was quite noteworthy across the central US with the unusual persistence of very cold weather in the Midwest. Des Moines IA experienced 252 consecutive hours of below freezing temperatures during the month of November which was the greatest in 137 years of record keeping. The most concerning aspect of this from the point of view of a meteorologist was the inability see this coming very far in advance. Once again this was all brought on by the development of blocking features (high pressure) in the high latitudes of North America. When it happens in the winter it can lead to extreme winter weather conditions in the US. When it happens in the summer it usually leads to very favorable growing conditions for corn and soybeans.

The blocking pattern at this time has shifted further to the north up to or just on the other side of the pole which has allowed the core of coldest weather to shift to the north of the border into Canada. When this happens the pattern reverts into one featuring more variable temperature (up and down). Storminess with the relaxed pattern would tend to follow more of an El Nino characteristic which would mean the most likely areas for significant precipitation would tend to favor southern and eastern areas of the US which would include the southern and eastern Midwest.

It appears to us that the blocking pattern trumps all other features that can control our weather. And when significant blocking does occur its impact on the US is significant. Unfortunately we are not in a position to have more than a 5-7 day notice from the models that a significant blocking pattern is going to develop. With that being said we would expect that additional episodes of severe winter weather are in store for us in the coming months due to the persistence of this blocking feature during the past couple of years.



Posted at 9:54AM CST 11/28/14 by Mike Palmerino

Wednesday 11/26/14

Western Canada Sees Wild Roller Coaster Temperatures

As the latest siege of severe cold sets its sights on Western Canada, we see a weather pattern unfolding that may lead us into a fairly wild roller coaster temperature pattern during the next week to 10 days.

High latitude blocking has weakened significantly during the past several days but enough remains to land one more punch of low temperatures and snow across the Prairies into this weekend. As we move into early December, the evolving upper air pattern will show some high latitude blocking, but it is expected to be located near the North Pole in a fashion that does not push the polar vortex south enough to keep southwestern Canada in a non-stop cold pattern.

Very low temperatures will exist across central and northern Canada for much of the next 10 days, but a mild pattern featuring Pacific air will cover the western U.S. The Canadian Prairies will be stuck in the middle and will likely see a little of both air mass types as we go through the next 10 days.

After a period of very cold weather into early Monday, we will likely see a quick warm-up later Monday into early Tuesday before a second punch of cold arrives for the middle of next week. Pacific air may then push across the Prairies to end next week sending temperatures to above normal.

Signs of El Nino remain across the Pacific; with blocking weaker now than it was during the middle of November, we are likely to see a little bit of cold and a little bit of mild weather since neither of these potentially deciding weather regimes are dominant at this time.

If at some point down the road high latitude blocking becomes a more deciding factor, then we could easily see frigid weather return. However, on the other side of the coin, if El Nino grows a little stronger during the coming weeks, a mild Pacific flow could take hold.

You may want to keep your score card handy during the next month as some rather significant temperature fluctuations take place across western and southwestern Canada.

Some healthy amounts of snow are likely during the next few days from central and southern Alberta to southern Saskatchewan as upslope conditions combine with moisture pushing across the Rockies. A second snow threat for the Prairies next Tuesday does not look as fruitful at this point.

Doug Webster can be reached at


Posted at 9:38AM CST 11/26/14 by Doug Webster

Monday 11/24/14

Foreign Crop Areas Weather Update

A look at a few crop areas around the world, outside of the North and South America areas.

South Africa Maize and Sugarcane areas: We continue to note the development of weak El Nino in the Pacific. This can sometimes have an impact on the maize and sugarcane areas of South Africa. This season has featured a few periods of hotter, drier weather for both of these crop areas but so far timely rains have prevented significant stress from hitting either crop. The forecast for this week shows a trend towards below normal rains and above normal temperatures for northern areas of the maize and sugarcane region with a tendency for normal rains and more seasonal temperatures through the southern areas. This area will be watched for any sign that the El Nino may be impacting the area as we move through the southern hemisphere summer, December through February.

Australia is also a region that would normally be impacted during El Nino years. However, at this time of the year the main winter wheat crop is in harvest and the summer crops are not very big as it concerns the global picture. We do not occasional periods of extreme heat and dryness impacting the east-central Australia area which appears to be affecting the cotton and sorghum crops in the area.

Russia produces a winter wheat crop and other winter grains this time of the year. This area has been in the news during recent weeks in terms of a continued dry weather pattern that has been in place since the middle summer period. The late fall period has seen an increase in rainfall for the southern most wheat areas of Russia which has eased concerns a bit. However, many areas in western and southern Russia are still very dry and will need generous spring rains to ensure favorable development. A generous winter snow season would also help to replenish soil moisture if it were to occur and assuming a relatively orderly spring melt of this snow. Snow would also help to protect wheat from winter cold as a poorly established winter grains crop in Russia would be at some risk of increased winter kill in the event of cold winter temperatures. This will be watched during the coming months.

China winter wheat and rapeseed areas have received adequate early fall moisture but the area has recent turned somewhat drier.. The temperatures are still warm enough for development of these crops in the southern part of the area. The crops have recently been relying on irrigation to supplement the drier soils. However, the forecast suggests some increase in shower activity during this week with continued warm temperatures.

India winter wheat and rapeseed areas reply mostly on irrigation supplies by the summer Monsoon rainy season. We did note a slow start to the monsoon early in the summer but the rains came on strongly later in the summer and reports suggest adequate irrigation for these crops. The wheat crop may also see seasonal shower activity during the January and February time frame as the northern jet stream drops into the region during normal winter weather. This added rain is needed to supplement irrigation during the high moisture usage period when the crop is in reproduction.


Posted at 11:47AM CST 11/24/14 by Joel Burgio

Friday 11/21/14

Record World Warmth in October

Following are highlights of the NOAA Global Climate Report for October. Some of the temperature departures from normal are impressive for the far-above-normal warming. The full report with graphics is at this link:…

October 2014 blended land and sea surface temperature percentiles. Many global areas were either much warmer than average or record warmest. (Graphic courtesy of NOAA)


The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for October, at 0.74 deg C (1.33 deg F) above the 20th century average of 14.0 deg C (57.1 deg F).

The global land surface temperature was 1.05 deg C (1.89 deg F) above the 20th century average of 9.3 deg C (48.7 deg F)—the fifth highest for October on record.

For the ocean, the October global sea surface temperature was 0.62 deg C (1.12 deg F) above the 20th century average of 15.9 deg C (60.6 deg F) and the highest for October on record.

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January-October period (year-to-date) was 0.68 deg C (1.22 deg F) above the 20th century average of 14.1 deg C (57.4 deg F). The first ten months of 2014 were the warmest such period on record.

With records dating back to 1880, the global temperature averaged across the world's land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for the month, at 0.74 deg C (1.33 deg F) above the 20th century average. This also marks the third consecutive month and fifth of the past six with a record high global temperature for its respective month (July was fourth highest).

The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Southern Hemisphere was record warm overall with a record high land surface temperature for the month. The Northern Hemisphere was third warmest on record for October, with a record high average sea surface temperature.

Globally, the average land surface temperature was the fifth highest on record for October, at 1.05 deg C (1.89 deg F) above the 20th century average. Record warmth in much of southern South America and large parts of southern and western Australia contributed to the record high average land surface temperature in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, record warmth was also observed in parts of southern Europe, the western coastal regions of the United States, and much of Far East Russia. On the other hand, parts of central Siberia observed temperatures 4-5 deg C (7-9 deg F) below average.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

Australia observed its highest nationally-averaged maximum temperature for October since official records began in 1910, at 2.76 deg C (4.97 deg F) above the 1961--1990 average. Combined with the eighth highest October minimum temperature on record, the mean October temperature (average of maximum and minimum temperatures) for the country was the second highest on record at 1.91 deg C (3.44 deg F) above average, behind only 1988. The warmth was notable for its spread across Australia; New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia all had record high mean temperatures for the month while Victoria had its second highest.

Austria had its seventh warmest October since national records began in 1767, with a temperature 2.2 deg C (4.0 deg F) higher than the 1981-2010 average. According to ZAMG, even if observed monthly temperatures during November and December are average, 2014 will still be the warmest year in the country's 248-year period of record.

Germany observed its third warmest October since national records began in 1881. The temperature was 2.9 deg C (5.2 deg F) higher than the 1961-1990 average and 2.7 deg C (4.9 deg F) higher than the more recent 1981-2010 average.

The October temperature for Norway was 1.8 deg C (3.2 deg F) higher than the 1981--2010 average. Parts of Rogeland and some areas in Ostafjells observed temperatures 3-4 deg C (5-7 deg F) above their average.

Denmark had its second warmest October since national records began in 1874, just 0.1 deg C (0.2 deg F) cooler than the record warmest October of 2006.

October 2014 in the United Kingdom tied as the 10th warmest October since national records began in 1910, at 1.6 deg C (2.9 deg F) above the 1981-2010 average. The October temperature for England was 1.9 deg C (3.4 deg F) higher than average, tying as the seventh highest temperature on record for October.

Switzerland had its fourth warmest October in the country's 150-year period of record. Measurement stations in Lugano, Locarno, Sion, and Geneva all reported record high temperatures for October, with Sion and Geneva 3 deg C (5 deg F) warmer than average for the month.

With records dating back to 1900, France also had its fourth warmest October, with a temperature 2.4 deg C (4.3 deg F) higher than the 1981--2010 average.

Sweden was warmer than average during October, with the southern half of the country experiencing temperatures 2-4 deg C (4-7 deg F) above their October averages. On October 28, the daily average temperature in Stockholm was 14.2 deg C (57.6 deg F), the highest daily average observed so late in the year since records began in 1756 (258 years ago).

The global oceans were the warmest on record for October, with a temperature that averaged 0.62 deg C (1.12 deg F) higher than the 20th century average. This marks the sixth month in a row (beginning in May 2014) that the global ocean temperature broke its monthly temperature record. October 2014 also ties with June 2014 for the third highest ocean temperature departure on average for any month on record; the second highest departure from average occurred in August 2014 and the all-time highest occurred just last month.

These record and near-record warm global sea surface temperatures have all occurred in the absence of El Nino, a large-scale warming of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean that generally occurs every five to seven years on average. However, there is close to a 60 percent chance for El Nino to officially develop during the Northern Hemisphere winter, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The potential El Nino is favored to be weak and last into Northern Hemisphere spring 2015. This forecast focuses on the ocean surface temperatures between 5 deg N and 5 deg S latitude and 170 deg W to 120 deg W longitude.

The first ten months of 2014 (January-October) were the warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature 0.68 deg C (1.22 deg F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.4°F), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 and tied in 2010 by 0.02 deg C (0.04 deg F). 2014 is currently on track to be the warmest year on record.

The most recent 12-month period, November 2013-October 2014, broke the record (set just last month) for the all-time warmest 12-month period in the 135-year period of record, at 0.68 deg C (1.22 deg F) above average, with November 2013 and May, June, August, September, and October 2014 all record warm for their respective months. (originally published as 0.69 deg C, corrected 20 Nov 2014)

For January-October, the average global sea surface temperature was also record high, beating the previous record of 1998 by 0.03 deg C (0.05 deg F). The average global land surface temperature tied with 1998 and 2002 as the fourth highest on record. Record warmth for the year-to-date was particularly notable across much of northern and western Europe, parts of Far East Russia, and large areas of the northeastern and western equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is also notable that record warmth was observed in at least some areas of every continent and major ocean basin around the world.


As is typical, October precipitation anomalies varied significantly around the world.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

Most of Japan observed above-average rainfall during October, with much of eastern Japan reporting precipitation that was significantly above average. Typhoons Vongfong and Phanfone, which struck Japan within about a week of one another, contributed to the high precipitation totals.

Very Severe Cyclone Hudhud struck the coast of southeastern India in mid-October, bringing heavy rainfall to the region. One localized area in the state of Andhra Pradesh reported a 24-hour rainfall total of 15 inches (380 mm).


Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 11:04AM CST 11/21/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (9)
Its funny you didn't mention much about the United States in your report. I'm sure at least in Iowa we had one of the coolest summers on record. Are you sure the NOAA incorporated some of the below normal temps in the Midwest in this report?????
Posted by DUSTIN RICKERTSEN at 10:55PM CST 11/23/14
It has been a warm November in North Dakota! Or maybe not.
Posted by JONATHON EATON at 12:43AM CST 11/24/14
Its funny you didn't mention the fall elections, US voted that there is no global warming!!!!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 5:05AM CST 11/24/14
Don't know the world wide averages, however only 8 deg. F. here this morning. The ground has been frozen for a month already. We can usually accomplish some field work until Thanksgiving. According to the boob tube, it has been one of the coldest Novembers on record.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:50AM CST 11/25/14
Dog dish froze again this morning, how can there be global warming when the only place in the world that matters is my postal zip code????
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:34AM CST 11/25/14
Solar powered dog dish heater don't work at night Jay? Maybe you could get a grant to study why.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:57AM CST 11/26/14
Just had dinner so cross off global hunger as well!!!!!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 12:08PM CST 11/26/14
US info discussed in blog comment section Nov 12. But one highlight--US Oct temp was the 4th-warmest on record.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 3:02PM CST 11/26/14
We've had month after month of 10 to 20 degree days of colder then normal with a few days of normal through in ,at the end of the month the NOAA says warmest month on record. Do we believe them or step outside ?
Posted by FRANK FULWIDER at 7:36AM CST 11/28/14

Thursday 11/20/14

Low Confidence in Weather Outlook for Western Canada

The calendar says we are still in the final month of meteorological fall, but we all know winter has taken over across much of North America in grand scale during the middle portion of November. Record low temperatures and record snow cover extent make our senses think it is later December or January.

The course our weather patterns have taken during the past two weeks do not appear to be the course we will be on during the next two weeks, according to the computer models that most weather scientists use each day. Changes are blowing in the wind as the strong high latitude blocking is currently decaying. We most likely will see a pattern a little more in keeping with late November during the next week.

The cold air making machine is breaking down, at least for now, and a more progressive west-to-east weather pattern is likely to bring moderating temperatures as well as a couple of snow chances during the next week. Temperatures are expected to be closer to normal by this weekend into next week. Compared to the past week, temperatures will feel like a heat wave.

The forecast for the remainder of the month is not quite etched in stone though, as not all model forecasts are on board for a more relaxed late-fall weather pattern. Some versions of the many runs of each model are hinting that somewhat of a return of blocking patterns and very cold weather could take place later this month.

Other model versions are not on board with the cold scenario and leave us with a cautious forecast for less cold later this month. This winter's forecast is likely to be more complex than last, as there are more potential players in the mix. An El Nino of modest proportions appears to be in place which throws in the potential of some mild, dry conditions in at some point. Blocking reared its ugly head 10 days ago and could return without too much warning turning mild breezes to frigid winds.

The large pool of anomalously warm ocean water through the Gulf of Alaska is not present this year and may have been a contributor to a nearly endless western North America ridge and cold of last winter. The differences from last winter leave us with more questions than answers and this may be one of those years where we roll with the punches.

Weather conditions may be quite, if not highly, variable during the next few months as El Nino plays a tug-of-war with periods when some blocking develops. The variability seen already during November may be a clue as to where the winter weather will take us.

Doug Webster can be reached at


Posted at 10:43AM CST 11/20/14 by Doug Webster

Tuesday 11/18/14

Harsh Cold Brings Late Harvest Issues

I received an e-mail comment on this January-like cold weather pattern from an Upper MIdwest producer that was like a dash of--illustration intended--cold water. It went like this:

"Combines filled with snow and ice. Trucks (and) grain cart tractors gelled."

Of course! It's one thing to have cold air--but THIS kind of cold hitting harvest fields? With probably most fuel mixtures not in winter mode--and machinery not expected to have to be worked with in a snowstorm environment. Those sentences put a new slant on the weather situation for the final 11 percent of the U.S. corn crop to be harvested and the last 6 percent of soybeans. After all--Wisconsin has 7 percent of its soybeans and 36 percent of its corn still to be harvested and Michigan has 8 percent of its soybeans 41 percent of its corn left in the field. Other parts of the eastern Corn Belt have a ways to go also with Indiana still with 16 percent of its corn left to harvest; Ohio 19 percent. North Dakota has 15 percent left. Colorado 16 percent. And Pennsylvania has 21 percent still to go.

The slant that my source's e-mail reminded me of is this--that this bitter cold needs to be looked at in relation to harvest in more than just a field or crop perspective. Cold weather firms up the ground, which allows for machinery to roll along better. We're all familiar with that line. But if it's so cold that a combine--or a truck--or a tractor--won't start--well, there's not much progress on that frozen ground after all.

So, this last stage of harvest will be a bit of an adventure. Will the market care? It's doubtful considering the size of the total harvest. But there may be some local basis moves depending on how things go. At the very least, there will be several million bushels that don't cause a storage problem for at least a short while.


Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Posted at 2:37PM CST 11/18/14 by Bryce Anderson

Friday 11/14/14

Brazil Rainfall Update

Here's a rundown of the Brazil crop area rainfall totals compiled by my colleague Joel Burgio. There are still some dry pockets in the eastern part of the country, but definitely not in southern areas. Amounts are for the time period September 1-November 13 and are displayed in inches.

First, for the major soybean areas.

STATE Total Normal Pct of Normal

Goias 5.90 11.44 52

Mato Grosso 9.27 9.74 95

MG do Sul 8.77 9.40 93

Parana 14.84 13.00 115

Santa Caterina 28.81 12.71 225

RG do Sul 20.55 12.53 164

And--here is the detail for the two leading coffee states, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais

Sao Paulo 7.93 10.28 77

Minas Gerais 6.54 10.71 61


Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 2:20PM CST 11/14/14 by Bryce Anderson

Thursday 11/13/14

Arctic Cold In Canada

Winter's cold air descended upon western and central Canada a few days ago bringing back memories of last winter. A weather pattern very much the same as we saw so frequently last winter and spring is now in place across North America.

High latitude blocking appeared almost out of the blue less than a week ago and now grips the Northern Hemisphere and completely disrupted the modest El Nino pattern that had been in place during October. The polar vortex that was along the north coast of Russia during October now is across the Hudson Bay region of Canada. A ridge near Canada's West Coast blocks any warming influence from the Pacific Ocean.

This type of pattern allows arctic air to quickly form at this time of year. The nights are long and snow now covers nearly all of Canada. High pressure across the snow-covered landscape allows temperatures to plummet. This weather pattern creating cold air is well established now, but how long should we expect the siege of winter cold to last?

The answer is a tough one. A year ago, a neutral El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) condition prevailed and high latitude blocking was nearly endless all winter and spring allowing low temperatures to be dominant. This year, we have seen El Nino on the verge of blossoming across the Pacific; during October, many of El Nino type weather conditions developed across the U.S. and Canada. The mild, mostly dry weather across the Prairies was one of these parameters.

With El Nino potential existing this winter, but also with the renewed blocking patterns of the recent week, where we go from here is more clouded. Blocking appears to be the key for what kind of weather we may experience. The blocking of the past week has completely disrupted the once seemingly well-established El Nino like pattern across Western Canada.

Models have great difficulty in seeing the development of blocking, as well as its demise. If the blocking disappears, it's a pretty good bet that the milder-than-normal regime of an El Nino like pattern will return. The problem is we are at the mercy of the model inability to give us much notice of blocking's entrance and exit.

Our gut feeling is that this might be one of those winters when we see some rather great extremes in temperature. We do not feel blocking will be in place all of the time like last year, but when it is, it will likely be quite cold. When blocking weakens or disappears, it can turn much milder and in a hurry.

The model outlook to 16 days tells us today that blocking weakens but doesn't disappear during the late part of November. This would imply a turn to milder weather after another week or so of very cold weather. The problem is that these are the types of changes that the models have the least skill with and confidence is low on the forecast for this time period.

We may have one of those winters where we have to roll with the punches and accept that we may not have lots of notice when some substantial temperature changes take place.

Doug Webster can be reach at


Posted at 10:48AM CST 11/13/14 by Doug Webster
Comments (1)
I will take the cold, if it helps the grain market warm up. I see the combines are rolling in the snow covered fields again.
Posted by GWL 61 at 11:42AM CST 11/13/14

Wednesday 11/12/14

Duration Of Cold May Be Impressive

To start out this blog entry, I call your attention to the final paragraph of a post that my colleague Doug Webster authored just two weeks ago on Thursday, October 30. In writing an update on the weather pattern for the Canadian Prairies, Doug concluded with this comment:

"The key to the upcoming winter pattern will be if and when any high latitude blocking high pressure develops and where the polar vortex decides to be. If the polar vortex stays more on the Asian side and blocking is minimal then the milder El Nino aspect of the pattern is likely to be a more important player. If blocking returns along with a stronger polar vortex across North America then the El Nino pattern will be disrupted."

Jump ahead two weeks, and what are we experiencing? We have high latitude blocking high pressure over northwestern Canada and portions of Greenland. We have also had the polar vortex migrating across the North Pole and onto the North America side of the polar region, with the result being the bitter cold wave that has covered the entire central U.S. and is heading toward the eastern and southeastern sectors of the country. Only the far western and southern portions are truly escaping the incursion of this cold wave.

This very cold pattern is of course far out of season. It's one thing to have this type of cold move in during late December and into January--after all, that's the period with the shortest days of the year in the northern hemisphere, so we expect that. But mid-November is still a time period when Indian Summer conditions are possible. I don't associate air temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit and wind chill index values of well below zero F with Veterans' Day--but that's what we have.

Have we had cold snaps of similar magnitude in the past--yes, of course we have. One such event was the Armistice Day Freeze in November 1940, when a quick and brutal cold wave swooped into the Midwest following a very mild October-early November period--one of the Indian Summer occasions. That cold wave killed many acres of apple trees, and likely wiped out true commercial fruit production in the western Midwest.

But--a big difference between that event and the Big Chill we have in effect now is that, back in 1940, the cold snap came in, did its (significant) damage, and then modified in just a few days. That's not the case with this Arctic package. Forecast charts have this very cold pattern staying around for the better part of two weeks at least.

That hanging around--the duration--of this cold wave is where the real records may come into play. It will be noteworthy to see how many days are tabulated with temperatures in the range of ten to twenty degrees Fahrenheit below normal. That is an outrageous--extreme--departure from normal and may be the real legacy of the November 2014 cold wave.


Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 4:16AM CST 11/12/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (2)
What happened to global warming? Is it warm some where in the world? Cold wave similar to 1940 maybe 1800 something, climate hasn't changed much.
Posted by FRANK FULWIDER at 8:33AM CST 11/13/14
We'll of course have to wait for the entire month of November to be tabulated--however, NOAA's U.S. climate report for October shows that October was a warm month. The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. last month was 57.1 degrees Fahrenheit--three degrees F above the 20th century average. This made October 2014 the fourth-warmest October on record. The October precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 2.33 inches, or 0.17 inch above average, ranking near the middle of the 120-year period of record. The global State of the Climate report will be issued next week, on Thursday November 20. The full U.S. climate report for October is at this link:
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 9:18AM CST 11/14/14

Monday 11/10/14

Jekyll-Hyde October In Missouri

The following article from the University of Missouri extension service points out just how back-and-forth the month of October was in the western Corn Belt.--Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A lot of rain fell on Missouri the first half of October. The second half was, thankfully, dry.

Several counties in central Missouri had more than 10 inches of rain.

“We have records that go all the way back to the late 1800s, and you will not find a wetter first two weeks of October for the state,” said Pat Guinan, climatologist for University of Missouri Extension’s Commercial Agriculture Program.

After that wet start, a pattern change turned off the tap and fairer weather dominated the last half of October. Even with drier conditions for the second half, the precipitation for the entire month was above normal.

“The preliminary data is indicating that October 2014 will rank as sixth or seventh wettest October on record,” Guinan said. “That’s how wet the first half was.”

Rain stopped harvest for much of October and farmers were unable to return to their fields until the final days of the month, Guinan said.

While the rain did slow the harvest, it brought one great benefit.

“Drought has been eliminated across our state,” Guinan said. “The Drought Mitigation Center map indicates no drought in Missouri.”

October temperatures were not as extreme as precipitation, but there were some highs. Guinan says on Oct. 25-26 temperatures climbed to the mid- and upper-80s. The monthly temperatures averaged slightly above normal.

“With the exception of a cool July and September, slightly above-average temperatures dominated this year’s growing season, so it was a decent growing season when you look at temperatures,” Guinan said.

Missouri saw its first widespread freeze on Halloween night, with temperatures dipping into the 20s and 30s. Guinan says that effectively ended the 2014 growing season.


Posted at 11:11AM CST 11/10/14 by Bryce Anderson

Thursday 11/06/14

Weather Pattern Hitting Canada Similar to Last Year

As October turned into November, all seemed quiet on the western front with a weather pattern dotted with El Nino type characteristics from North to South America. Milder-than-normal Pacific air had been flowing in across the Canadian Prairies and helped harvest to finish nearly on schedule.

Nearly all, if not all, of our computer weather models were forecasting a continuation of a mostly benign weather pattern featuring mostly mild weather as a west-to-east jet stream flow stayed put. These forecasts seemed locked to this pattern through November.

What a difference a week can make. Beginning this past weekend, hints of change started to show up as all of our model products made a turn toward high latitude blocking across the Northern Hemisphere. The advance warning was about as close to none as can be.

During the mid to late October period, the main polar vortex was making a home near the north coast of Russia on the Asian side of the Northern Hemisphere, but during the first few days of November this vortex started to shift toward the North Pole and has since started to move into northern Canada. These were probably the hints that change was coming.

Super Typhoon Nuri has been racing northeastward through the western Pacific during recent days and is due to become an extremely intense gale through the Bering Sea during the coming days. This event is likely to push lots of warmth northward into Alaska with the downstream effect being the development of a trough through central North America.

As you guessed it, the polar vortex is likely to make a trip south to southernmost Canada by this time next week and bring a big turnaround in the weather across much of Canada and the U.S. A weather pattern much like we saw a lot of the time last winter will evolve quickly during the coming days, helped by blocking across northwest Canada and Alaska and Greenland sending a surge of arctic air southward through western and central Canada into the central and eventually eastern U.S.

The Canadian Prairies can plan on seeing a major temperature drop Sunday into Monday possibly lasting through most of next week. Readings should fall to well below normal and some record cold is not out of the question. Some snow may precede and accompany the arrival of the arctic blast laying down a snow cover that only will help intensify the cold.

In earlier blogs we have spoken about the influence that blocking has on our weather and the next week will be a prime example of that. High latitude blocking can completely overwhelm and disrupt what appears to be a well-established mild weather pattern with little notice. It should be noted that as quickly as blocking is developing, it can also disappear fast. While it looks like winter is racing into town, soon it is entirely possible that 10 days from now mild breezes could be again flowing across the Prairies.

Based on the past week, confidence of what things may look like in 10 days have fallen to the basement. The key to the pattern coming later this month will be if the blocking hangs on or if it breaks down. At this point the best thing to do is batten down the hatches and be ready for change at nearly any time.

Doug Webster can be reach at


Posted at 11:26AM CST 11/06/14 by Doug Webster

Tuesday 11/04/14

Weather Tidbits And Commentary

A few weather tidbits and comments:

According to the state climatologist in Iowa, last week in Iowa was the driest statewide in almost 2 years with only a handful of stations picking up any measurable rain. This dry trend was perfect for harvest. It also shows how wet the pattern has become again since the drought of 2012.

Also noted is a report out of Tennessee that eastern Tennessee received its earliest measurable snowfall since 1925. However--early snowfall does not necessarily mean a snowy winter.

Despite the fact that no government agencies have declared an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean, our feeling is we have been in an El Nino for the last month or so. Our calculation of the eastern Pacfiic sea surface temperature departure for the month of October has risen to a plus 1.3 from a plus 0.7 in September. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is now at -9.3 in the 30 and 90-day readings. These are both above the thresholds of an El Nino. And we have also been seeing El Nino characteristics of the weather pattern in North America, South America and Australia.

It seems at this point in time that the upcoming winter will continue to feature some El Nino characteristics. The most likely characteristic will be an active storm track over the southern and eastern U.S. What is more questionable is how mild the winter will be. In a classic El Nino, the country is on the mild side due to a prevalent Pacific flow. This warming is most pronounced in the north-central U.S. However, the blocking high pressure patterns across the far northern latitudes that have been so prevalent during the past couple of years could continue to show up at times allowing for surges of cold air into the U.S. How this cold air phases with the storm track will determine how much snow we get and also how far to the north and west from the classic El Nino storm track we see winter storms travel.

It is interesting to note, going back to the comment from the Iowa state climatologist, that last week was the driest in the past couple of years. The last few weeks have featured little blocking in the far northern latitudes. Prior to this, blocking has been quite common during the past couple of years since the end of the year 2012. Blocking patterns tend to give you a more-favorable growing season due to their tendency to promote cool and unsettled conditions. They also tend to promote rather cold and sometimes snowy winters.

The latest theory recently presented by the University of Tokyo is that blocking patterns in the higher latitudes are increasing due to vanishing Arctic sea ice. This promotes a weakening of the jet stream in the far northern latitudes, allowing more high pressure to build and forcing the cold weather associated with the polar vortex further to the south. An interesting theory and one that I think should be given further attention.


Posted at 4:05PM CST 11/04/14 by Mike Palmerino
Comments (2)
Will there be any warning as to when & if this high latitude blocking begins to move & where it will set up shop?
Posted by JERRY KOCHANIUK at 8:48AM CST 11/05/14
Unfortunately there will be little warning. We had gone virtually all of October with little sign of blocking and more El Nino like characteristics of the weather. All of a sudden this past weekend the 8-10 day models started to completely change showing extensive blocking developing over Alaska and northern Canada for next week. This will lead to a major outbreak of cold air into the central US next week.
Posted by Michael Palmerino at 10:45AM CST 11/05/14

Saturday 11/01/14

Possible Wet Early Nov In S. Plains

We have some forecast model disagreement for an early November storm system in the southern Plains that will command attention these first few days of November. During the Sunday through Wednesday time frame, upper-level low pressure (trough) will move from the West Coast across the central U.S. This trough will interact with a cold front over the southern half of the country to bring either "some" or "heavy" precipitation to the southern Plains.

The U.S. and European forecast models have some notable disagreement on the speed of the western U.S. trough as it moves eastward. The U.S. model has the trough moving rather quickly through the Plains and into the Delta and mid-South during the Sunday-Wednesday period. The European model, on the other hand, has the trough moving at a slower pace. This is an important difference--because a slower progression of the trough would draw in more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into the western half of Texas, and thus would mean some significant precipitation of at least one inch in liquid amounts--possibly more--for western Texas and at least the southern half of the Texas Panhandle. Note that I said one inch in "liquid amounts"--because with a cold front in the region, at least some light snow is not out of the question.

Another wrinkle in this scenario is that the eastern Pacific Ocean is still an active tropical weather system producer. We experienced the effects of that attribute back in September when a series of eastern Pacific systems--Norbert, Odile, and Polo--contributed to heavy rain in the central U.S. and delayed the start of fall harvest. This time, Tropical Storm Vance is a potential player in the forecast, with a possible addition of tropical moisture from the eastern Pacific to the party. That moisture helps to fill the atmosphere and contributes both to a higher likelihood of precipitation and heavier potential amounts.

Finally, this activity is starting in the Far West, with rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. This entire package of unsettled weather is a characteristic of El Nino--which in our DTN Ag Weather group's opinion has been in effect for some time now.


Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 7:14AM CDT 11/01/14 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
Very nice needed 2-inch here in Northwest Oklahoma last night. Winter wheat plants are mostly all up and looks good. Some of the area farmers their wheat is just coming up out of the ground and some are getting ready to turn cattle out on the earlier planted wheat.
Posted by Gordon Stebens at 11:42AM CST 11/04/14

Thursday 10/30/14

El Nino Showing Up In Prairies Weather

Western Canada's crops are almost all in the bin and while it had been a good harvest yield-wise there have been quality issues for crops this fall due mostly to the early September frosts, freezes and snow. Most areas have reported quality levels well below that of both 2012 and 2013 despite yields that are above the 10-year average.

Soil moisture levels continue to be good this fall supporting the establishment of any fall seeding. The milder-than-average October has also been an aid to getting fall planting in the ground and started.

As we wrap up the 2014 crop season, we start to increase our focus on what the 2014-15 winter may hold in store for Western Canada. Last winter's bitter cold and snow were a result of pronounced upper level blocking across northern and northeastern Canada combined with a neutral ENSO pattern.

The circumstances are definitely different as we move toward the start of November this year. While an El Nino is not officially in place by government definition, we do see many of the signals of an El Nino across North and South America. Another stark difference from this time a year ago is the complete lack of blocking across Canada and the high latitudes in general. The main polar vortex has been making a home on the Asian side of the northern hemisphere so far this fall, not across north-central Canada.

These differences from last fall could have a major impact on our winter's weather if they stay in place. The current pattern as it is set up would favor a mild weather pattern with infrequent periods of precipitation across the Prairies. The million dollar question is whether and how long can this pattern maintain itself?

Model projections are indicating that we may look forward to more mild weather well into if not through November. A mostly west to east flow is forecast across Canada and the U.S. for the coming few weeks which brings lots of Pacific air inland across the North American continent. This air is quite mild versus normal at this time of year.

The pattern as it is shown now prevents the development of Arctic high pressure across northern and northwestern Canada. The cold air making machine of last winter is nowhere to be found for now. Down the road we will have to monitor for any shifts of the position of the polar vortex and whether or not some high latitude blocking returns.

While everything looks rosy now, history tells us that drastic changes can take place. There have been years when mild conditions prevailed into early winter than the bottom dropped out. For now, we can be cautiously optimistic that we will not see a repeat of last winter, at least with the nearly endless cold and snow. Even in the most mild of winters there are a few periods of cold and snow.

The key to the upcoming winter pattern will be if and when any high latitude blocking high pressure develops and where the polar vortex decides to be. If the polar vortex stays more on the Asian side and blocking is minimal then the milder El Nino aspect of the pattern is likely to be a more important player. If blocking returns along with a stronger polar vortex across North America then the El Nino pattern will be disrupted.

Doug Webster can be reached at


Posted at 11:04AM CDT 10/30/14 by Doug Webster

Wednesday 10/29/14

World Wheat Moisture Issues

It's worth a few minutes to mention some possible areas of concern in the world wheat production scene. We're certainly not in danger of running out of wheat--production in 2014/15 is pegged by USDA worldwide at more than 720 million metric tons with a world carryout of almost 193 mmt. Still, we have seen in the not-too-distant past that if problems show up at the right time in wheat, there can be a ripple effect in the markets across the grain trade. Here are some areas that deserve attention:

AUSTRALIA--production estimates are being revised downward during the late spring in the southern hemisphere primarily because of a drier trend in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. These states in September received on average only 45 percent of their normal rainfall. Plus, some record high temperatures have occurred, which also cause stress to the wheat crop ahead of harvest.

RUSSIA--it's very early in the wheat production cycle, just as it is in North America winter wheat areas. However, there is a drier trend to start out the season. A summary of September precipitation compiled by Informa Economics shows that Russia winter wheat areas had an average of just 65 percent of normal precipitation, and Russia spring wheat areas totaled less than half--just 49 percent--of normal precipitation. There's a long way to go of course, but this is of some concern. There have also been comments made in wire service reports which compare this dry September to the same month in 2009--and the summer following, in 2010, was the summer that featured the drought-enhanced fires around Moscow.

UKRAINE--major wheat areas of Ukraine join Russia in being dry over the past few weeks. Total precipitation for the month of September was 70 percent of normal. While that's not bone-dry, it's still a fair amount below the typical total.

BRAZIL--while there has been much attention given to the onset of rain in the soybean belt of Brazil, and the chance for that moisture to expand into the coffee and sugarcane areas, there is also a possible development on the other side of the rainfall ledger in the southern Brazil state of Rio Grande do Sul. This state's wheat crop has gotten mighty wet recently with more heavy rain on the way during the coming weekend. This could cause some quality issues in the Brazil wheat crop as a result.

These international areas bear keeping track of, but there are also several locations in the U.S. which may come under scrutiny as the rest of this season moves on:

MIDWEST---planting of soft red winter wheat is noticeably behind schedule in Illinois and Missouri. Illinois is 41 percent planted as of Sunday October 26 (34 percentage points below the average 75 percent) and Missouri is only 38 percent planted (17 points behind the average 55 percent). Indiana and Michigan are lagging their SRW planting rates by around ten percentage points each (Indiana 67 versus 75, Michigan 77 versus 86). The reason for this delay? Heavy rain during early and mid-October, along with some fairly cool temperatures caused extensive disruptions to planting.

SOUTHERN PLAINS (Kansas/Oklahoma/Texas)--these states have a big difference in oil moisture levels. In Kansas, the western third of the state--which has been the driest over the several years--generally has topsoil moisture supplies rated around 40 percent short to very short. It's drier in Oklahoma, where topsoil moisture supplies are rated 56 percent short to very short. And in the Texas Panhandle, topsoil is still in the range of 55-60 percent short to very short.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST---Informa Economics places total precipitation for month of October to date at seven percent above normal in Washington, but 40 percent below normal in Oregon. For the year (based on a start date of July 1), Washington precipitation is listed as four percent below normal but Oregon's is pegged at 45 percent below normal.


Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 3:22PM CDT 10/29/14 by Bryce Anderson
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Recent Blog Posts
  • Some weather comments.
  • Western Canada Sees Wild Roller Coaster Temperatures
  • Foreign Crop Areas Weather Update
  • Record World Warmth in October
  • Low Confidence in Weather Outlook for Western Canada
  • Harsh Cold Brings Late Harvest Issues
  • Brazil Rainfall Update
  • Arctic Cold In Canada
  • Duration Of Cold May Be Impressive
  • Jekyll-Hyde October In Missouri
  • Weather Pattern Hitting Canada Similar to Last Year
  • Weather Tidbits And Commentary
  • Possible Wet Early Nov In S. Plains
  • El Nino Showing Up In Prairies Weather
  • World Wheat Moisture Issues
  • It's All About The Block
  • Warmth Helps Prairie Harvest
  • NOAA: Record-Warm September
  • Details On Brazil Dryness Issues
  • Western Canada Sees Warm, Dry Period Developing