Analogs Indicate Dry Summer

–Dry south/wetter north for winter;

–A key feature for crops — dry signal for the spring and summer in the central U.S. with wetter conditions in the East;

–For the spring season — severe weather risks higher due to a stronger upper jet, good low-level jet and cold northwest/warm southeast temperature pattern similar to more active years.

These suggested features call to mind the harsh extreme weather season of 2011 following the establishment of La Nina in August-September 2010. (And in fact, the 2010-11 time frame has the highest correlation to conditions we see now.)

The following winter was cold and snowy over many northern and central areas. Then, the late winter and spring featured some devastating tornado outbreaks. Examples include a rash of tornadoes in the southeastern U.S. and in the southern Midwest during the spring season. The year also brought heavy rain, delays in fieldwork and planting and prevented planting to the Midwest. And a combination of heavy snowpack and heavy spring rain brought on season-long flooding in the Missouri River valley.

Prevented planting acreage hit a then-record of more than 10 million acres.

In contrast, 2011 brought devastating drought to the Southern Plains. Crop yields were down. Pasture and hay supplies dried up. Forced cow herd dispersions were widespread. A packing plant in the Texas Panhandle even closed due to supply issues caused by drought.

So, while analogs do not constitute a total forecast, they do offer suggestions about what “could” happen. And those indications are sobering for 2021.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @BAndersonDTN

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