Transition To La Nina – What Does It Mean?

USDA Chief Meteorologist Brad Rippey says we’re seeing a pattern change in weather from El Nino to La Nina, and farmers should pay attention.

Rippey explains that El Nino is a very active weather pattern. Hail, tornadoes, and high winds are traits of a classic spring El Nino in the Midwest. But it’s likely to change over the next few weeks.

“For people that are getting the moisture now, hold onto that,” he says. “I do have concerns that we could see some dryness that’s already starting to pop up in places like Southwest Kansas, Southeast Colorado could begin to spread as we head deeper into the warm season.”

“A lot of the dynamical and statistical guidance does show drought developing — Rockies, High Plains region — potentially starting to spread a little bit to the East.”

Rippey says he’s concerned about drought in the Western Corn Belt. He says the Mississippi River might be a dividing line between drought and moisture. He says the southern and eastern regions of the U.S. might see tropical moisture in mid to late summer.

But in a global marketplace, drought concerns extend to South America. Argentina and southern Brazil will likely see drought for the 2024-25 crop. It’ll be the fourth La Nina in five years, Rippey says.