Much of the U.S. is experiencing bitter cold temperatures and snow storms before the official start of winter on Wednesday.
Some agronomists worry the cold snap could bring winterkill to winter wheat fields in southern Nebraska, Kansas, northern Missouri, southern Iowa and far west central Illinois.
According to Brad Rippey of the USDA, La Nina’s presence is being felt.
“Last year, we had near-record strength El Nino or warm water in equatorial pacific, especially towards the South American coast, which fueled a winter that was incredibly mild and virtually snow-free across the U.S.,” said Rippey.
This year, he said, the weak La Nina is having the opposite effect.
“With that opposite condition, we have seen over the past several weeks, conditions that are very consistent with La Nina developing across the United States,” said Rippey.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expecting temperatures to be colder than last year east of the Rockies. The Northeast and Midwest are projected to be 17 percent colder.