[Science] La Nina Weather

I feel bad that I'm just getting to this post, since I thought about doing it in early April.  Back on April 9th, before all the tornadoes starting touching down, I was monitoring Dr. Anthony Watts climate blog and noticed a repost from another blog, by Joseph D'Aleo from ICECAP.  The title on Dr. Watt's blog was "Uh, oh…the clash of ice and warmth brings storms."  It's a prediction of severe storms across the Midwest and Southern areas of the United States, the kind that often include tornadoes as well, due to the ongoing (but weaker) La Nina event in the Pacific and a warming, in the Gulf Coast, due to a ridge that was blocking the Gulf for about six weeks, allowing it to warm up fast.

The Pacific La Nina event makes for very cold and long North American winters and beekeepers are noticing that everywhere.  The classic weather symptoms of a La Nina event, on the mainland, are a cold and wet North Pacific and Northern Rockies, while our friends in the Four Corners and south through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas suffer from drought.  So far I've only heard of Texas struggling with the drought, but those other areas can expect it as well.

Now typically the South can expect pretty dry conditions as well, but with the warm gulf and cold north, where those two start to bump into each other, could be critical.  There will certainly be many and very severe thunderstorms and tornado events there and I would say hurricanes are likely to be numerous this year as well (My prediction).  We haven't had a hurricane hit the Conitinental U.S. for five or six years now, but colder weather ALWAYS creates more storms than warmer weather.

For those who were hoping for a return to a bit of "normalcy", I don't want to burst your bubble, but over at NOAA some are saying that according to the data, strong La Nina events are often followed by a second year of La Nina, albeit a weaker one.  La Nina events always fade in the Summer, but can resurge for a second time and the prediction is for about a 50% chance of that happening this time.  http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/

So what this may mean for beekeepers this year and next?  Well, with a delayed Spring still mostly in effect you are already facing it in most areas.  Here in Northern Utah things have been wet and cold still.  Night temperatures still often hitting freezing.  Daytime highs in the mid fourties on good "partly cloudy" days.  Package bees delayed everywhere due to troubles getting good days for queens to take mating flights.  Feeding having to continue a bit longer than normal since many necture and pollen sources are still dormant or hard to get to with the weather "misbehaving".

Due to NOAA's predictions of a possible resurgence of La Nina this next winter I would prepare for an early winter, with more cold and snow.  This will likely interrupt next Spring's beekeeping processes and schedules as well.  If you have a number of hives that would be detrimental to you financially to lose, make sure you have insurance coverage on them.  And if you live in the Midwest or South, be safe out there and alert to the storm conditions, please.


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