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Meteorologist offers farming forecast through November


MENTONE, Ind. El Nino is officially over this year, but growers will be dealing with its aftermath for a while.

Michael Clark, co-owner and chief meteorologist for BAMWX LLC, told Ceres Solutions Knowledge Event attendees on August 29 that he sees cooler temperatures and a colder winter coming. Approximately 250 farmers attended the day's events at the Ceres Solutions Mentone location, hosted by about 120 Ceres employees and vendors.

"(With El Nino) it's been one of the craziest years for weather," Clark said. "We're in August, but it feels like September. We need heat for the corn (but we might not get it).

"Monday and Tuesday of next week, Hurricane Dorian will take all the moisture and energy over a large area (of its location) and it will dry up a little," he added.

But the rest of September will provide plenty of opportunities for rain, and thunderstorms will be scattered for the next few weeks (in the Eastern Corn Belt). At the same time, the central and western portions of the Corn Belt might dry out.

At the start of the forecast he presented, he said it will be cool across U.S. growing areas 3-4 degrees below normal. Specifically, Sept. 10-15 will include a little Indian summer and from Sept. 16-19, a cold front is expected across the United States.

September will have normal to above-normal rainfall in the eastern and southern U.S., Clark said. The western and central U.S. will be drier.

This year is following similar weather patterns to those in 1993, 2003, and 2012, with 1993 being the front-runner, according to Clark. September will be drier in the central and northern Plains. October will be cooler than average and the central U.S. might dry out a little.

November will be colder than average in the eastern third of the U.S., and the month might be drier.

"We haven't had any sunspots or solar flares for a while, which usually means shorter growing seasons, more hurricanes, and colder, harsher winters," he explained.

Clark cautioned against using mobile weather apps. "The reason (they're) free is they don't care about accuracy. It's automated and not made to be accurate. It's for advertising and clicks, not for business decisions. Use it with caution."

Even paid weather apps are not likely accurate, either, so he suggested investing in a weather service.

Clark finds the Farmers' Almanac weather predictions to be about 20 percent accurate and called them "entertaining to read." Also, he pointed out that climate change is making terms like "100-year rains" a lot less relevant.

For more information, visit or email Clark at