The U.S. Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts that there are 80 percent odds El Niño conditions will continue through spring and a 60 percent chance that the pattern will linger through summer.
CPC’s Emily Becker says the tropical Pacific has “eerie similarities to early 2015” when a strong El Niño developed, but she says it’s “far too early” to tell if that will happen this year.
Weather stories tend to have a negative crop focus, but on many occasions the outcome is a pleasant surprise. In 2015, a wet spring delayed planting across large areas of the Midwest, but better weather later in the year helped crops to finish strong. In fact, soybean yields notched a record at that time. A strong El Nino will change weather patterns, but that does not necessarily mean a poor yield.