The recent spat of La Niña vs. El-Nino-driven cycles which have dominated the central and eastern waters of the Pacific Ocean has yielded to more "normal" water temperatures. As a result, a "neutral" atmospheric pattern now exists; a set-up ripe for lingering "cold" and warm air masses to duke-it-out during the months of June and July.
In response to this neutral pattern, a subtle shift of the jet stream will bring warmer to much warmer-than-average temperatures to the Desert Southwest and southeastern states.
Meanwhile, temperatures will average close to or somewhat below normal throughout the upper Midwest and, at times, into the Northeast and New England. A rather expansive area of wide-ranging temperatures will be found across the Corn Belt, with extended spells of seasonal heat and cool spells likely.
Active wet pattern
The precipitation outlook for much of June and July suggests a wet and active pattern for the northern and eastern Plains, much of the Corn Belt and the eastern states. Drier-than-usual weather is also forecast to extend from the southern Plains to the southern States, with an early start in the Monsoon season in the southwestern U.S.
A much busier hurricane season may be in order along the Gulf Coast, in the Deep South and southeastern U.S. later this summer. Drought-easing tropically-oriented rains could develop on occasion late this summer over the southern Plains.
Midwest drought improvement
From the Dakotas east through Minnesota and southward on to Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and the Great Plains, a rather challenging early to mid-summer season may be ahead, especially with what will have turned-out to be a cool, wet season at the onset.
Frequent outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms will maintain the wetter pattern that has already been established. Significant drought improvement is forecast. Yes, there will be bouts of beneficial warmth and some sense of heat, but these occurrences may be few and far between compared to "normal" early in the season. However, do look for a drier late-Summer, with above average warmth. Winter wheat and summer crop regions on the southern and western Plains may only see limited improvement to the ongoing extreme to exceptional drought.
Wild ride in Eastern Corn Belt
Across the Midwest and Great Lakes Corn Belt southward to the Ohio Valley, a broad range and wild-ride of temperatures is expected. Cool weather and late-season frosts and light freezes may occur in the upper Midwest and even around interior sections of the Great Lakes Corn Belt.
Meanwhile, temperatures will vary just either-side of normal, but with some significant early-summer fluctuations farther south and southwest from the Ohio Valley. As a result, summer crop growth and development may be somewhat slower. Later in the season, warmer-than-usual conditions, centered on the western Great Lakes region and upper Midwest, will bring better growth and development. There should be no shortage of rainfall. In fact, there is potential for excess rainfall in some Midwestern regions of the Corn Belt through early-summer. However, a trend towards drier-than-usual conditions may also develop close to late summer.
- Soulje is an agricultural meteorologist writing from Illinois.