Drought expected to persist
La Niña, decreased precipitation and drought are all phrases producers are hearing more regularly. In an interview with “Wakeup Wyoming” on April 19, Meteorologist Don Day shares the chance of the ongoing drought continuing through 2022 is eminent, all thanks to the oscillating La Niña pattern.
“In the western U.S., La Niñas are dry and El Niños are wet,” Day explained, noting western states are entering the second year of a La Niña cycle. “Although it may not be as strong, the opportunity for the drought to break this spring and summer is low, as long as we continue to see this La Niña.”
He continued, “We’ve seen this before, and this is a pattern that repeats itself. But, we have to get out of this pattern, and honestly I don’t think it will be until 2022.”
The three-month outlooks for temperature and precipitation probability released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for May through June, made April 15, predict a stronger chance of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for the time period. Day explained even though this spring and summer might be warmer and dryer than normal, he doesn’t think it will be as dry as last summer.
The outlook for this summer greatly depends on the moisture the area receives in May.
“May is the wettest month on average in Wyoming and we are not at average, which does not bode well,” said Day. “A lot of the summer’s dryness is going to hinge on what precipitation we get over the next five weeks.”
He added, “May is supposed to be wet, and it will be wet. But, it has to be wetter than normal to put a dent into the drought, and I don’t see it.”
Although snow and rain are in the forecast for the next month, it may not be enough to combat ongoing drought, Day noted.
To view climate outlooks, visit cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/.
Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.