TORRINGTON, Wyo. – Farmers in the WyoBraska region can look forward to good moisture over the next few months, as well as average summer temperatures, as they plan their planting strategies for 2019.
At the Winter Crop Shop hosted by Meyer Seed on Tuesday at the Bucking House Steakhouse in Torrington, meteorologist Don Day, of DayWeather, told attendees projected forecasts for the next few months could heavily favor their efforts. According to Day, the area is about to experience a cold snap over the next few months that will bring lots of moisture to the area and build the snowpack in the Wyoming Rocky Mountains.
“What we are going into right now, and what happened last week in the Midwest, is that we are going into the core of the colder part of winter,” he said. “It’s about ready to get colder, it’s about ready to get more active and it’s about ready to get more stormy.
“That means good news for the snowpack, that means good news for spring in terms of moisture that’s coming.”
The Midwest region of the United States has been reeling from a polar vortex that brought temperatures of -50 in some areas, but Day said the winter has been average locally. The polar vortex, Day said, is the result of the stratosphere heating and pushing cold air away from the Arctic. It’s a phenomenon the region was lucky to miss.
“What happens is the stratosphere, when it warms up and expands, it takes the cold air near the North Pole and the Arctic Circle and pushes it south,” he said. “When we go back and look over time, that’s what set the stage for all of that cold air to come into the Midwest in the polar vortex.
“We couldn’t get any closer. We dodged a bullet.”
But even though local farmers dodged the polar vortex bullet, colder temperatures are still on the horizon. Day said he believes the next eight weeks will be cold and wet, and could result in a greater-than-average snowpack.
“What’s going to happen in the short term is we are going to be looking at a colder trend,” he said. “We’re going to probably have more winter in the next eight weeks than we’ve had all season. We’re going to have more chances for snow. We’re going to be colder.
“More often than not, it’s going to be colder. The first half of February and March we’re expecting stormy weather. That’s going to help out with the snowpack.”
That snowpack will result in greater runoff amounts, which will settle in reservoirs that are crucial for irrigation.
“We’re going to have better snowpack here in our region than last year, and probably in prior years,” he said. “I’m confident that we’re going to have good water in our reservoirs.”
Most of the country will be trending wetter in the spring, including northern Colorado and parts of Nebraska. With an eye ahead to the spring, Day said he believes there will a good amount of precipitation in the next three months.
“As we go into the next 90 days, it’s looking pretty good for precipitation,” he said. “It’s looking like an adequate spring for precipitation.”
Drought should not be an issue locally, Day said. There could be some issues in the Corn belt states in the Midwest, but he said local farmers should be in a good spot.
“We have a good chance for spring moisture,” he said. “Right now, I do not see a drought signal.
“There could be some possible heat stress in the summer in the Corn Belt, but temperatures will be average here. We’ve got one year, maybe two, where I don’t think we’ll see a large-scale drought in the United States. We haven’t had a drought summer when we see patterns like we’re seeing now.”