WASHINGTON (NAFB) – Growers in the Corn Belt are enjoying ideal growing conditions, according to a top USDA meteorologist, while a dozen western and southern states face historic drought.
600 counties from southern Texas to the northern Rockies are parched. Together, they produce fully one third of the nation’s beef cattle and half of its fruit, vegetables and winter wheat. In addition about 60 percent of California faces exceptional drought.
“It was the Midwest’s turn two years ago,” says USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. “2012 was the historic Midwestern drought. Since then, we’ve largely seen a westward shift in the overall drought coverage and intensity. It first went to on into the Southwest and now it’s California’s turn.
Rippey says there’s been some drought from California to Texas for the better of three and a half years, forcing the U.S. to import more specialty crops, which are grown nowhere else in the states. And the situation could continue, based on a cooling La Nina effect in the central and eastern pacific near the equator
“There’s also been a very persistent pool of warm water, not well understood, in the North Pacific, and that seems to be driving jet stream patterns that would now favor Western drought, rather than Midwestern drought, like we saw two years ago,” Rippey says, meaning the situation could continue based on the cooling La Nina effect in the central and eastern pacific, near the equator.