Despite months of cool to downright-frigid weather, it doesn’t look like farmers in the Midwest will see a reprieve anytime soon. March looks to be a chilly month to kick off planting, and parts of the Midwest will not see above-normal temperatures until May.
Many states saw record-setting cold temperatures in January and February with some areas receiving in excess of 40″ of snow this winter.
“This pattern tilts the odds toward colder-than-average weather temperatures overall for the months ahead,” says Laura Edwards, South Dakota State University Extension state climatologist of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. She says spring could bring flooding to South Dakota and possibly other nearby states, too.
March forecasts mean farmers will kick-off the season with some unexpected storms, cooler weather and other less-than-favorable conditions.
“A very busy pattern looks to continue at least for the foreseeable future,” explains Michael Clark, the co-owner and meteorologist in charge of BAMWX. “We [have] a couple of bigger systems [in] mid-March where we have research even strongly suggesting tornado outbreaks.”
He says this forecast for the Midwest all goes back to what’s going on in the northern Pacific Ocean where there’s a barrage of storms.
“I look for this active pattern to be around at least to the end of March,” Clark says. “Right now, it’s probably every three to six days there will be a storm.”
Those living in the Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley should keep a sharp eye out for severe weather.
“Western Indian Ocean activity correlates strongly to the pattern here in the U.S.,” Clark says. “Not only does it favor severe weather but it favors violent tornado outbreaks, and I don’t use that term lightly,” he notes.
“From the southern Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley to the deep South, the first two weeks of March and the third week of March, even, can really feature some pretty strong storms that are capable of a couple severe weather outbreaks,” he adds.
If you’re located in the areas Clark predicts will see some severe weather early this spring, take the time to study your disaster preparedness plans. Review them with your family as well to help make sure everyone stays safe.