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Fierce Western Wind Is a Pattern that Could Be Fading

06:42AM May 06, 2014
dust storm

The Southern Plains is known for not only how dry it is, but also its fierce winds. Last week, the winds were even more brutal than normal, topping 60 miles per hour, shutting down roads and even closing schools.

A video taken by a viewer in Dumas, Texas, which was right in the middle of the dust storm, shows just how ruthless the winds have been. Couple the wind with the extreme drought, and conditions have been unbearable outdoors, making farming in areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas extremely tough.

Watch the full report:

U.S. Farm Report Meteorologist Mike Hoffman says if the winds seem worse than normal this winter and spring, it’s because that’s been the case.

"Well, I think it goes back to the winter pattern, and that ultimately goes back to the North Pacific where we had a very warm pocket of water," says Hoffman. "That created a ridge in Alaska and then the big trough over Alaska and Central portions of Canada, and that brought the winds and the cold air down continuously all winter, and that’s coming over very dry ground."

Hoffman says that could soon change with the forecast for a major change in the weather pattern.

"Going forward, we’re looking for that to weaken and an El Nino to start to set up by fall and winter," he says. "And that should change the overall pattern and kind of put a stop to that."

While some forecasters are predicting a strong El Nino, Hoffman doesn’t expect that to be the case. Any relief will be welcomed for the Southwest, where the dryness and wind has been too much for the area to withstand.