Wet Weather and Agriculture - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Wet Weather and Agriculture

Question:

Too much rain is not good for the sugar cane stubble in the ground. We depend on this stubble for our next crop. The rain really needs to back off. As a farmer I have to accept things I have no control over, the RAIN/WEATHER. It is safe to say the rain will back off, but when?


Answer:

As a whole WAFB Storm Team has tried to make clear to south Louisiana farmers through our weathercasts (and the LSU AgCenter presentations that I've delivered at a handful of ag-conferences in the past weeks), the odds are that "wet" will continue to be the local weather pattern over the next 2-4 months.

By odds, I'd say there's about a 80%+ chance of continued near-normal to above-normal rainfall right into April, maybe even early May. (Yes, there may be a few runs of drier weather over the next couple of months, but for now I'd plan on "wet" being the rule and "dry" being the exception.)

This is the typical winter signature of El Nino for the southern half of our state -- the only "good" news is that this is a "weak" El Nino (so far), so our confidence for a "wet" winter & spring weather is not as high as it would be if this were a "strong" El Nino. In a WAFB newscast a couple of weeks ago, I showed how the 9 strongest El Nino events of the past 50 years led to above-normal rainfall from January-to-April for most or all of the WAFB viewing area each time.

Another point: "how much?" above normal is the next good question. Will it be just a bit wetter-than-normal, which most of south Louisiana can handle? Or ... will it be something approaching the mega-El Nino of 1982-83, which produced record or near-record flooding on every river in the Florida Parishes in April 1983?

Regardless of what some "experts" might say/claim ... honestly, no one can answer the "how much rain" question with any real confidence. But, fortunately, a near-record wet winter-spring seems rather unlikely, at least at this early stage (late January).

So .. let's hope that if we are going to have a "wet" winter-spring, at least maybe it won't be an "extremely wet" winter-spring!

The above is probably NOT what you were HOPING to hear, but that's my read of the current situation based on my looking at south Louisiana winters over the years.

Jay Grymes
Chief Meterologist
WAFB Storm Team

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