It's going to be exceptionally cold in the Northern Plains from January through March, says Leon Osborne, a climatologist and president of Meridian Environmental Technologies, a private weather forecasting service.
"We will likely see some 30 to 40 year low temperature record lows," he says.
Osborne spoke this morning to more than 1,000 North Dakota and Minnesota farmers and industry representatives at the Prairie Grains Conference. The conference is sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, North Dakota Grain Growers, Minnesota Barley Growers Association, North Dakota Barley Council, and the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Northland Community and Technical College.
Osborne says that while the winter will be colder than normal, it will also be direr than normal due a shift in the jet stream that will bring cold air straight from artic into the midsection of the country. The position of the jet stream will cut the region off from moisture in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We'll have snow, but it will be light dry snow that will blow around and end up in the ditches and shelterbelts," he says.
Spring across the Dakota and Minnesota will be late, Osborne predicts. The delay won't be due to wet weather, though. The spring will be mostly dry and cold. Soil temps will rise slowly.
"There's a good chance of frost even into the first week of June in North Dakota," he says.
The risk of spring flooding risk will be lower than last year, even though the northern Rocky Mountains are expected to get record snowfall. The region isn't expected to see another round of record spring rain, Osborne says.
The Texas drought will continue and likely spread further north this summer and reach parts of South Dakota, northwest Iowa and Nebraska, according to Osborne.
In June and July, there will be more strong thunderstorms with damaging wind and hail across the Dakotas than normal. Rainfall amounts with the storms will not be excessive.
"We are starting to move down the path of drier conditions," he says.
"A lot of things are stacking up to indicate a dry down."