La Nina Prompts Busy Hurricane Season, More Harvest Rains

It seems like every week the weather stations are reporting a new tropical storm—or worse yet—a hurricane. For farmers along the coast it’s a challenge every year, but this year’s especially busy season has been one to reckon with.

Expect the latest hurricane, Hurricane Delta, to hit along the same path Hurricane Laura took in late August, nailing southwest Louisiana and right up the Delta region (not to be confused with Hurricane Delta) with a lot of heavy rain. Ed Vallee, meteorologist with Empire Weather, expects Delta to land mid-afternoon Friday, Oct. 9.

“You’re going to start seeing the effects Friday morning,” Vallee said live on AgriTalk. “But I think later in the morning through Friday evening will probably be the worst of it down there. It looks like it could come as either a category two or category three storm.”

Trouble in the south

For farmers in Louisiana and throughout the Delta region, more rainfall, in sums that are in the 3” to 6” range are bad news. Cotton bolls are open and highly susceptible to water, and wind damage. If enough rainfall hits, crops could be decimated.

“It’s looking like all of the Delta though northeastern Louisiana, western Mississippi, central and eastern Arkansas, right up into western Tennessee and maybe even into far southeastern Missouri,” Vallee explains. “[Additionally] there might be a harvest disruption up into parts of Kentucky and in the southern Ohio Valley.”

The rain in Kentucky and the southern Ohio valley will be much less intense than farther south, but still likely to stop combines.

What La Nina Means for 2020, 2021

Because a La Nina weather pattern is likely, experts can predict with some certainty what to expect over the coming months.

“Octobers in La Nina are pretty warm—what we’re seeing right now,” Vallee says. “As we move into the winter, typically La Nina does offer some precipitation in the Midwest.”

However, he says areas farther south that are already dry such as northwest Texas, Oklahoma and southwest Kansas tend to stay drier. There’s already a moisture deficit in those areas and now a good chance it will get worse as you head into the 2021 season.

Check out more of the conversation with AgriTalk Host Chip Flory here: