El Nino? Not Happening., Neutral Period Expected

Okiedawn OK Zone 7November 15, 2012

El Nino conditions have not developed. It appears we are in a neutral cycle and those neutral conditions are expected to remain in effect this winter.

Unfortunately, this likely means a dry winter and possibly a continuation of the drought in many areas for some time.

The supporting data can be found in the link below, with the conclusions at the end of the document.


Here is a link that might be useful: Climate Prediction Center's El Nino Analysis/Conclusions

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Dawn - Looks like you're are right based on current data.

When you look at the 30 day temperature departure chart, it's as if a line runs north to south, along the Mississippi, dividing the country. On the western side of the line, temps are 2-3 degrees higher than average. On the eastern side of the line, temps are 2-3 degrees lower than average. Similar pattern on the 90 day chart, but difference is less pronounced.

We've been drier than usual until Sandy brought about 10" of rain last month. Most of that rain ran off into the waterways. I think the 30 and 90 day precip charts are measuring the impact of Sandy (and her little brother who came through a short time after her). Since Sandy was an isolated and unusually severe event, I don't know how she affects the forecasts. I guess we'll wait and see.

I've been cleaning up the gardens. Brought in the last tomatoes (most green) and peppers. Also harvested kale, lettuce, a little spinach. The broccoli, kale, and collards are growing much slower than usual. Thanks to Sandy and her little sibling, the fall vegetables got off to a rough start. I'm thinking about planting more kale. Don't know if it's too late to start seedlings for transplant, or if the seedlings will survive until temps warm up in early Sprig.

Need to plant lots of garlic.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You have no idea how disappointed I am that we won't have even a weak El Nino. It usually takes at least a moderate El Nino to refill our ponds after exceptional drought, and we've been in drought here since approximately October 2010, so we need an El Nino. (sigh) We did have some good rain in the fall of 2011, but that now seems like it was 100 years ago. Our last good rainfall that actually put a foot or so of water in the ponds for a while was in latest May and earliest June 2012, but that water dried up within a month. Our ponds have been mostly empty for so long that trees are growing in the pond bottoms and I've just about forgotten what the big pond looks like when it is full. I have to pull out a photo from 2007 to see it full to the brim and overflowing.

I've been watching those temperature charts too, and shaking my head. If we stay warmer than usual this winter, that means the grasshoppers likely will start hatching early which is never a good thing. While the cold nights got most of the grasshoppers here finally (in the last couple of weeks), I saw 2 or 3 in the garden and 1 trying to get into the greenhouse this week. I don't like cold, wet winters because I don't like being cold, so I just hibernate inside like a bear in a cave....but I've been hoping for a cold, wet winter anyway and I don't think we are going to have one.

I do think a big precip event like Sandy can make your rainfall look better on paper than it is in real life. Sometimes we'll have a big rainfall event here with between 6 and 12+" of rain in one day and that makes our rainfall look great on paper, but since so much falls at once and a lot of it immediately runs off, it really isn't the same as if the same amount of rain had been spaced out over a period of weeks and soaked into the ground instead of running off.

I've been harvesting broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, spinach, turnips and beets and their growth has been erratic here. I blame it on the inconsistent weather. We have had some unusually cold nights accompanied by some unusually warm days. Sometimes we're in the 70s during the day and then the 20s at night. The 70s make the plants put out new tender growth and then the 20s damage the new tender growth. Sometimes it seems like we can't win. This week we are supposed to have much better weather with highs near 70 but nights in the 40s and 50s and I am happy about that because I still have quite a bit of garden clean-up to do.

We're still harvesting tomatoes and peppers from the container plants in the greenhouse and, in fact, the plants still are flowering and setting fruit but I doubt any new ones that set now will have time to ripen before the nights get too cold and they freeze. Any time I'm still harvesting tomatoes this late in November, I'm a pretty happy camper.

Because our weather has been so odd, the Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' and 'Magic Merlin' plants that normally stay green all winter and start to bloom in February or March are forming buds, and one already is blooming. Ditto with the chamomile that sprouted in September after rain began falling and with the lovely weed, henbit, which I leave wherever it sprouts so the butterflies have some winter blooms. Even the poppies and larkspur that usually sprout from self-sown seeds in November sprouted this year in September and are growing too rapidly. I am wondering if they'll manage to bloom in winter instead of waiting for spring. Everything seems so topsy-turvy this year.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:04AM
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