Will another ‘La Nada’ winter break the drought?

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click image to zoomDrough MonitoeThe Drought Monitor map released on Nov. 7, 2013. A wet start to autumn for the nation’s dry heartland may be an indicator of the promising winter to come, but the prospects of long-term drought relief is another story.

“Nearly all of the remaining U.S. drought is considered to be long-term in nature, or a combination of long- and short-term effects,” said Brad Rippey, meteorologist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Economist

The Drought Monitor shows little change in this week’s report, despite rainfall totals of the last two weeks surpassing 3 inches across a large swath of the Corn Belt. However, this rain wasn’t enough to quench the drought, now considered anything but a “flash drought.”

However, rain and snow did help chip away at some of the drought in the Plains and Midwest.

Despite recent rains helping to roll back some of the drought, more than half of Texas is still in moderate or worse drought. Water experts warn that while these flooding rains are the only way for the Lone Star State to break from its drought, these recent rains fell downstream from where it’s needed, according to YNN News in an article available here.

Further to the west, farmers, officials and the public alike are looking for a wet winter to help replenish dry reservoirs.  

Few parts of the country are spared by dryness. The drought is now stealthily also moving eastward now affecting the majority of states along the Eastern Seaboard.

Read the full report here.

But will this winter save the day?

Forecasters aren’t sure.

Like last year, forecasters expect what’s called ENSO-neutral conditions to persist through spring 2014 for the Northern Hemisphere. Dubbed “La Nada,” this pattern is a weather wild card.

Last year, as El Niño fizzled into La Nada, NASA climatologist Bill Paltzert explained to the Los Angeles Times that “with La Nada, it’s like teenagers without rules. It’s unconstrained and unpredictable.” Read more here.

Don’t be fooled though – La Nada can produce just as many big storms as its cousins La Niña and El Niño. From Accuweather to the Weather Channel and from The Old Farmer’s Almanac to NOAA, Old Man Winter is already gearing up for a rough season. Read more here.

The National Weather Service isn’t expecting much drought relief through the end of January, with many areas currently deep in drought to remain dry. Click here to see the “Seasonal Drought Outlook.”



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