3-month weather outlook: Hot and dry

NOAA outlook spells out tough summer for some beef producers.

June 25, 2020

3 Min Read
Burt Rutherford

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the temperature outlook for July through September indicates fairly strong odds of above normal temperatures for most of the lower 48 states. The one exception to that forecast is parts of the Central Mississippi Valley, where there are very little signs of either a warmer or cooler than normal summer, according to Livestock WX.

The July-September precipitation outlook indicates a tilt in the odds of above normal precipitation for much of the eastern part of the country starting from parts of the eastern Great Plains. For much of the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Rockies, and extending southeastward into the Central Rockies, parts of the northern Great Basin, and northeast regions of the Four Corners region there is a tilt in the odds of below normal precipitation over the next three months.

Equal chances of below, near and above normal precipitation are indicated for areas of the Southwest, the western Great Plains, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes region and the Northeast.

Drought to intensify

Drought coverage rapidly developed and intensified across the southern Great Plains and eastern New Mexico since May due to insufficient rainfall, above normal temperatures and periods of enhanced winds.

Improvement or removal of drought is slightly favored for parts of Oklahoma and northwest Texas due in part to an expected increase in rainfall during the latter half of June.

Farther to the west across the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico, that improvement is related to a relatively wet climatology associated with the Southwest Monsoon. Nearly half of the annual precipitation typically occurs during July-August-September across eastern New Mexico.

Drought is likely to persist and expand across the West and northern to central High Plains through the summer. A major factor in the drought expansion is the likelihood of above normal temperatures during the outlook period.

Drought, beef cows and corn

Drought is not expected to develop across the Corn Belt and Midwest over the next three months, according to Livestock WX. However, it doesn’t mean a shorter-term flash drought could develop, given the higher-than-normal temperatures expected through September

Approximately 18% of the beef cow inventory is currently in drought, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Looking back at NOAA’s April-June Seasonal Drought Outlook, around 10% of the beef cow inventory was expected to be in drought by the end of June. 

The forecast missed the mark by about 8 percentage points. The reason has to do with the rapidly developing drought in southeast Colorado, the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and the more recent drought development in Wyoming and Montana.

Looking at the current Seasonal Drought Outlook, approximately 17% of beef cows are expected to be in drought by the end of September, which is about a 1% improvement from our current situation. The reason for the improvement is due to expected drought improvement in parts of Oklahoma and the Texas’ South/Rolling Plains.

Source: Livestock WX, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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