A weakening La Niña could bring needed moisture to areas of North America

Weather is the biggest variable farmers face, and as many have seen throughout their career, too much or too little of something can seriously wreak some havoc.

Andrew Pritchard, senior meteorologist with Nutrien, spoke earlier this week at the Northern Pulse Growers Association AGM, at Minot, North Dakota, to discuss the weather outlook for 2023.

It’s no surprise that, when taken on average, the Northern Plains could really use some moisture. Many are wondering when this drought will finally break, and allow us to once again grow a thriving crop.

La Niña is one of the biggest instigators of drought across North America, says Pritchard, and he shares some hope: the weather pattern could be weakening.

“All of our forecast guidance continues to suggest La Niña will continue to peel back and fade away as we go through the spring into the summer,” he says. “It’s going to be a slow process. It’s not just flipping the switch right there. But as we remove La Niña, we remove one of the biggest instigators of drought across the region.”

As Pritchard explains in the conversation below, breaking La Niña will open up the pattern across North America to bring in the heavy rain and the thunderstorms. (Story continues below interview)

La Niña breaking wouldn’t just have impacts for the central/western parts of North America, either, the entire continent could see impacts, albeit a little less dramatic than rain in areas that haven’t seen rain for years.

“La Niña has slightly less of an impact across the Corn Belt here, at times it’ll give us wetter weather across parts of the Ohio Valley. You go a little further north, and it can be sometimes a colder and drier pattern. So again, peeling it back, opens us back up to more in the way of activity. So when we look at the Corn Belt, it may be problematic in the way that you’re pointing towards a pretty active storm track across the central and eastern Corn Belt, which could mean frequent big storm system coming through.

“It’s going to vary region to region, but the whole scale shift here is one that I think is going to be beneficial for a lot of regions.”

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