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Active severe weather season expected

February ended with a widespread outbreak of severe weather and wild temperature swings across the Midwest.

Eric Snodgrass, chief science fellow at Nutrien Ag Solutions, says…

“There was quite a bit of hail damage across the state of Illinois, especially in the northern part of the state, but then we also had stronger storms that hit downstate as well.”  He says, “I know we had more than 11 tornadoes out of that as well, so a pretty early and active start to our severe weather season.”

He says although the major temperature shift following the front was drastic; it wasn’t historical…

“Early 2000s, we had a front that came through in late January that took our temperatures ahead of it into the 70s,”  he says, “we started the next morning in the negative single digits, so it can be bigger, but certainly this one felt like a pretty powerful shockwave to the system as it came through earlier this week.”

He says it’s just the beginning…

“I think it’s going to be a pretty active tornado season as we go forward here in parts of the Midwest.”  He says, “We’re gonna get, you know, a system every probably five days that tries to roll across the country. And that’s a little bit more than average. Usually, we get one every seven or eight days.”

He says an active jetstream is to blame…

“So, the Pacific jet keeps dropping deeper troughs of low pressure in the West,” he says, “and they eject into the Plains and Midwest and become a big spring or late winter storm system.”

Snodgrass tells Brownfield the strength of those systems will vary…

“The next one coming through isn’t nearly the same kind of potency as the one that just came through,” he says, “but when we see that happening this early, it tells me that the atmosphere is picking up momentum.”

Even with the active pattern, Snodgrass is predicting Midwest farmers should have adequate planting windows this spring.

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