USDA meteorologist on the impact of La Niña

La Niña is here and its arrival could impact weather around the globe. USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey explains what the weather event could mean for U.S. crops.

According to Rippey, one thing that we have been seeing across the United States is an increase in drought coverage. He says we had only about one-tenth of the country in drought as recently as February and we have seen a sharp increase in drought coverage throughout the country.

“We are on a record setting pace in terms of the number of named storms and we see no signs of that abating,” he said. “There’s just a literal storm train of waves coming off the African coast; not all of them develop into named tropical storms or hurricanes, but enough of them continue to do so that we remain on this record setting pace.”

The weather that La Niña brings will also have an effect on the West Coast, which is still dealing with wildfires.

“What you expect to see during La Niña is that with the stronger northern jet stream we get even more precipitation than usual, often times starting in October or November,” Rippey said.

However, depending on where the rainfall occurs may help or hinder fighting the wildfires.

“So, it’s a huge concern for the Southern Great Basin, for southern California, and the southwest if these generally warm and dry conditions could persist deep into the autumn or even the winter months, and that would lead to further drought intensification, as well as keeping the wildfire season open longer than normal,” Rippey said.






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