The weather this week swung from nineties to temps that feel more like the first day of autumn. It’s been a year of extremes, with 30 counties in Iowa issued some level of disaster designation by the federal department of agriculture so farmers can apply for relief programs because of drought. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says he’d like to be able to tell us what kind of winter will follow — but he still can’t. Hillaker says the current conditions are “pretty much right at neutral,” right in between the special weather patterns that would signal “El Nino” or “La Nina”. There’s a slight chance of the latter as he says a pool of cold water’s heading for South America, so some forecasters are hedging in the direction of a La Nina. Each is linked to a collection of weather patterns in different parts of the country over the course of a winter season. “La Nina is not what we want to see,” the weather man says. Hillaker says that typically brings us more extreme weather — warmer summer and colder winters than normal, less rain than normal except in the winter when we’d just as soon have less precipitation. It doesn’t really look like a “classic La Nina event” ahead but Hillaker says right now the weather’s acting very much like one.
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