Late Winter, Early Spring Forecast Calls for “Haves Versus Have-Nots”

The precipitation picture through late winter and early spring will be a case of the haves versus the have-nots. That’s the forecast from ag meteorologist Ryan Martin in Indiana. The Upper Midwest is one part of the country seeing steady precipitation.

“We’re seeing a nice little stream of cold Canadian air incursions coming through the rest of the month of January through February. I don’t think that the Upper Midwest is going to be too far out of the realm of normal as we go forward. Now, that being said, we just came out of 2022 and started 2023 with slightly above-normal temperatures. Part of that’s the reason why we have seen a little bit more precipitation is if you get some moisture-laden systems to move into that differing air mass, then you change your snow ratios a little bit. So, we are probably seeing the continuation of that at least through the third week of January. But I think the cold air coming out of Canada is something that we can count on at fairly regular intervals. Nice little cold Canadian high-pressure outbreaks now through probably even into mid-March.”

Much of the Central Plains will continue with very dry weather.

“We’re seeing the western part of Kansas, western Nebraska, and the Oklahoma Panhandle areas just continue to not see a whole lot of significant moisture. Western Nebraska and northeast Colorado picked up that major snow event late in 2022, but outside of that, it’s been nothing, and that was a very dry snow overall. So yes, I do think that we’re going to be seeing dry conditions continue through a large part of the Central Plains until we see some kind of differentiation in the flow patterns, there’s no reason to see anything different. One of the nice things I have started to see here over the past couple of weeks, we’ve started to see this pattern where our systems aren’t digging in, or at least trying to come out of the Four Corners region, at least one out of every three, and I think that’s going to try and spread a little bit moisture potential into the Central Plains as we move into later January and early February.”

He says the forecast for the central and eastern Corn Belt isn’t showing a lot of precipitation activity.

“We’re seeing a little bit of an uptick in precipitation as we finished out 2022 and starting into 2023. We’re still looking at this pattern coming together where we probably see a decent frontal complex trying to pass through the central and eastern Corn Belt about every week to 10 days, with minor little systems in between. I think the wildcard for the central and eastern Corn Belt is going to be cold air out of Canada. A lot of debate out there and models are split multiple different ways as to whether or not the cold that we saw in late December materializes again in the Central and Eastern Corn Belt, east of the Mississippi. If it does, I think that triggers a better chance of precipitation going into the later winter and early spring.”

Martin expects to see more precipitation ahead for the central and eastern Corn Belt by April. The pattern has been a little more active in the Delta and the Deep South.

“We finished out 2022 with a fairly nice batch of precipitation. I think we’re looking at probably three to four systems lined up here over the next two, three, or four weeks. They’ll continue to have normal precipitation, maybe even a little bit above normal precipitation, in the Delta. I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to be newsworthy, but I also don’t expect too many people to be complaining about a lack of moisture down in the Delta.”