This year’s harvest season has been unusually tough on local producers. Ceaseless rains and snowstorms have caused many headaches for farmers across the southwest North Dakota region.
By Frank Turner
Although producers don’t usually wish away the rain, this harvest season has been nothing but unusual. This year’s September was the rainiest September on record for the entire state of North Dakota, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Hamilton.
“Of all of North Dakota, if you take the whole amount of rainfall that we had over September, it was the wettest September we have had on record,” he said.
Even with September in the rearview mirror, the excessive precipitation locally has refused to stop. For the month of October, the local southwest region of North Dakota has already received more than double the precipitation than what is considered historically “normal.”
While the rain and snow have seemed relentless, Hamilton said that the weather should clear up looking into November, and the region should see less precipitation.
“Typically, as we head into the winter months, our precipitation chances drop,” he said. “October and November are typically our driest months because we are getting out of the summer time pattern. It gets colder so the air can’t hold as much moisture.”
November’s historic average precipitation in the region totals .5 inches for the entire month. Assuming condition do not change, Hamilton said the prediction outlook maps from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center indicate an equal chance for above and below levels of precipitation in November.
“There are equal chances for precipitation over North Dakota, but Bowman and Adams County are close to the above normal area, but again there are no strong signals for the one month outlook” said Hamilton.
“Things can always change, but we should be entering a period with less precipitation.”
In addition to normal rain conditions, the outlook maps also call for a slight chance for above average temperatures in days ahead.
So what’s average for November? Early in the month, the historic data shows average highs in the 40’s and lows in the 20’s.
By the end of the month, the average temperatures drop to highs in the 30’s and lows in the 10’s.
More broadly, overall conditions are pointing to a neutral winter. Although pinning down a long-range prediction is difficult, Hamilton said there are currently no influences from El Nino or La Nina affecting the region.
“Long range, there is no real strong signal for a warmer, drier, wetter, or colder winter across the Northern Plains,” he said