The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s forecast through April predicts warmer-than-average temperatures in the MFA trade territory. Chances for above-average temperatures will recede southward as spring progresses.
Depending on weather between now and then, some areas of the state will face drier soils at planting due to reduced winter precipitation. As of early February, data from the National Drought Mitigation Center showed moisture deficits in parts of north-central Arkansas and central Missouri. Winter precipitation totals were at least 4 inches below normal in these areas. In some places, the deficit reached as much as 6 inches below normal.
Forecasters at NOAA reported that in early 2017, La Niña conditions played a role in temperatures for the region. However, they expect La Niña conditions to fade as spring arrives. Not knowing exactly when or how quickly La Niña will fade reduces forecaster confidence in longer-term summer weather predictions. For now, NOAA predicts slightly warmer-than-average temperatures for the entire 2017 growing season.