Mild Northeast Harvest Weather Ahead

After a tough summer, the Northeast needs a stretch of good weather.

Published on: Sep 14, 2011

Here's a quick look ahead at the Northeast's expected weather for this fall and early winter. It's a peek at the report coming from Meteorologist Greg Soule in your soon-to-arrive October issue of American Agriculturist.

First though, you'll want to know what's ahead for the central Corn Belt since grain prices are most influenced by it. A challenging mid- to late-fall weather pattern is expected. Harvest is beginning with a mild to warm start. But that won't be the rule "as we advance deeper into the season," says Soule.

Temperatures will lean toward below-normal to well-below normal, but with some fluctuations from the lower Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley. Several winter-like cold wave episodes are likely.

OKAY, IT WON"T BE QUITE THIS WARM: The Northeast harvest season is starting out mild and wet – no thanks to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storms Lee and Katia, but wont be so tropical anytime soon.
OKAY, IT WON"T BE QUITE THIS WARM: The Northeast harvest season is starting out mild and wet – no thanks to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storms Lee and Katia, but won't be so tropical anytime soon.

Longer range models and other forecast tools suggest the return of another La Nina later this year. Whether you "buy" into the return of La Nina or not, Soule expects an unusually active weather pattern for a large area of the country. Most of this volatility should play-out during mid to late fall. So, be on your toes!

Expect a pronounced, southward shift of the jet stream. That should bring frequent cold air intrusions and a general trend in temperatures to below and much below normal average plus moisture-laden weather arcing down from the Pacific Northwest into the South and back up to the Northeast and New England.

Mid-Atlantic mild and wet early

Early in the season, periodic spells of cooler-than-average temperatures are expected across the Mid-Atlantic, due in part to tropical systems tracking northward from the Southeast. At times, mild, late summer-like warm episodes early in the season will yield to more seasonal readings.

While cold air will intrude late in the season, early season frost and freeze potential still appear minimal. Precipitation will be plentiful in the Mid-Atlantic early in the season, followed by a trend towards much drier-than-average weather towards the start of winter.

As for New England, early-season frosts and light freezes are possible.  Thereafter, expect spells of milder-than-usual weather to dominate.

Near the start of winter, the Northeast will experience longer-lasting spells of cold weather, but no worse than near-seasonal temperatures. As for precipitation, normal to above normal amounts are ahead much of the fall. It'll be intertwined with multi-week periods of dry weather, allowing a seasonal pacing to fall fieldwork and clean-up.