The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) latest summer 2017 forecast -- for the months of June, July and August -- has some heat, but no drought, for the major U.S. crop areas. A round of "equal chance" for above-normal, normal or below-normal temperatures cover the northern and central Plains and the western Midwest. All other areas of the contiguous U.S. have above-normal temperatures forecast, with the highest chance in the southwestern U.S., the Gulf Coast, Southeast, and the East Coast through New England.
On the precipitation side, above-normal amounts are indicated for the Rocky Mountains, Plains, and the far western Midwest. The highest chance for above-normal precipitation is in the western Plains and the Rockies. Other areas have "equal chances" for above-normal, normal or below-normal precipitation.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) comment on forecast conditions has this summary:
"For the contiguous U.S., above-normal seasonal mean temperatures are most likely for the eastern U.S., across the southern states, and west of the Rocky Mountains. The greatest odds are indicated for parts of the Southwest, the Gulf Coast and Atlantic coastal regions.
"The June-July-August 2017 precipitation outlook indicates enhanced probabilities of above-median precipitation for parts of the Rockies and High Plains, centered east of the Continental Divide, extending southward through the southern Plains.
"As the forecast progresses toward the cold season, a slight tilt toward El Nino is indicated."
Regarding drought, the NOAA expectation is for drought to be an issue only in the far southwestern and the southeastern U.S. No drought is expected for the majority of the primary U.S. crop areas.
A key detail of the widespread above-normal temperature pattern will be the numerical value of overnight low temperatures. Warm conditions during overnight hours have been identified as contributors to reductions in crop yields.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at Bryce.firstname.lastname@example.org
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