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Date: 1/27/2014

Title: February Outlook

For many in the Northern Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast there already has been enough winter weather to fill a whole season in the months of December and January. It has been one of the coldest/snowiest winters in a long time and we are just past the halfway point.

As we look ahead into February is there any relief in sight for the cold soaked central states, drought relief in the far west, etc.?

Let’s first start with the Northern Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast areas where winter has been the most harsh so far. Unfortunately, there is more severe winter weather on the way in the month of February in many areas that have been impacted so far this winter.

In particular, the Northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes can continue to expect cold temperatures (although not as severe as the December and January cold) through the month of February. In addition to more cold, there are good chances that we may see a fair amount of snow as well (above normal) in many areas. For the Mid Atlantic states and some areas of the East Coast and Northeast, February will not be as cold but there may be several bouts of rain/snow and unsettled weather.

In the image below you can see the expected below normal temperatures in blue for most of the lower 48.


For folks in the far west, there are indications that there will be much better chances for precipitation in the month of February as compared to the last two months.  

In the image below you can see the expected above normal precipitation in green/blue for most of the lower 48.

Therefore, there may be some drought relief coming, especially for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and portions of northern and central California. Also, dry areas of the High Plains (Nebraska, eastern Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma) have a decent chance of getting some near to above normal amounts of rain/snow in the month of February.

Snow pack conditions are likely going to improve across all of the Rockies, with the biggest winners of increased mountain snow being Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. The central and northern Sierra Nevada of California should have better opportunities to receive some needed snowfall.

In short, there is very little relief for cattle producers in the month of February as more challenging winter is on the way. While some good will come of this pattern (with increased precipitation in the west) it will still be a trying month at times for many across the lower 48 states in February.