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Summer 'without a summer?'
La Nina's ending, and with the transition in the predominant weather pattern in the western hemisphere, look for a different tone for this summer's weather in general.
It looks like the summer could wind up cooler than normal, according to AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Henry Margusity. While that brings along with it more chances for rainfall throughout the area, it also means the potential for thunderstorms, in general, could be greater than normal as well.
"The end of the La Nina pattern will threaten to make this area a region 'without a summer,'" says Margusity. "Repeated intrusions of cool air from Canada along with showers and thunderstorms will keep temperatures below normal in many areas. Temperatures topping 90 [degrees Fahrenheit] may be rare."
For direction on exactly how this trend will unfold, Margusity advises looking south from the Midwest; the stormy spring in states like Alabama and Mississippi could be a bellwether for more storm potential than normal for the Corn Belt in July and August.
"The severe weather that has plagued the South this spring will shift northward. Frequent bouts of thunderstorms could mean numerous instances of flooding, hail and wind damage, even tornadoes," Margusity says. "While we probably had the most extreme tornado activity of 2011 during April and May, the summer still has potential to bring a few moderate outbreaks of tornadoes."
What that forecast means
If you've got a lot of acres left to plant, Margusity's forecast isn't exactly music to your ears. And, with some areas -- like the eastern Corn Belt and northern Plains -- still waiting on warmer, dry weather to allow stalled-out fieldwork to resume, there may be a lot of acres left unplanted by midsummer, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., ag meteorologist Craig Solberg.
"Ohio has more corn left to plant than anyone, but at least does have a favorable forecast for net drying to take place, as temperatures will be warm and rainfall will be limited there over the next 10 days," Solberg says. "As wet as the northern Plains are right now and with rain in the 10-day forecast, it is becoming more and more likely that there will be acreage there that just never does get planted. For areas of the Midwest that has all of the spring fieldwork done, this is still a favorable forecast."