Weekly Weather Update

We continue to see the building up of record heat in the Desert Southwest. We could see readings approach 115 degrees near Death Valley later in the week. By mid to late June, this scorching weather should push into the central U.S. Stay tuned. Happy holiday!

NEW 180 DAY LONG RANGE WEATHER OUTLOOK:

THROUGH JUNE 20 (FULL MOON): With El Nino’s demise, the tropical storm and hurricane season may be getting off to a fast start. The second named storm, Bonnie, could form over the holiday weekend and bring showers and thunderstorms to the southeastern U.S. coastline. The rest of the East Coast is expected to have summerlike weather with temperatures climbing into the 80s all the way up New England.

In the central U.S., more showers and thunderstorms are expected across parts of the central and southern Great Plains and into the Corn Belt. Tornadic activity may be seen in the central and southern Plains into the holiday weekend. The unsettled weather in this part of the country is forecast to continue into next week.

Overall, we’re expecting that the Midwest Corn and Soybean Belt will be a bit COOLER and WETTER into mid June before things turn both warmer and drier than normal later in the period.

JUNE 20 (FULL MOON) – AUGUST 2 (NEW MOON): With El Nino gone, this mid summer cycle is expected to be both HOT and DRY to east of the Mississippi River. The East Coast will be wetter and a bit cooler than usual. The western areas should have near to above normal precipitation overall with occasionally hot temperatures. However, readings will not be as torrid as the summer of 2015 across the Northwest.

AUGUST 2 (NEW MOON) – SEPTEMBER 16 (FULL MOON): With an expected La Nada or early La Nina pattern in the south-central Pacific Ocean, this late-summer six week cycle should be drier than usual from California eastward to the Appalachian Mountains. Pod-filling soybeans in the Midwest should suffer damage from extreme drought and heat. Hurricanes should stay along the East Coast and should be higher in number when compared to the 2015 season.

SEPTEMBER 16 (FULL MOON): – OCTOBER 30 (NEW MOON): It will be quite chilly this early to mid autumn with early freezes near the Great Lakes. The rest of the U.S. will see normal to drier than normal weather under high pressure. Hurricanes will threaten the southeastern U.S. as El Nino should no longer influence weather patterns.

OCTOBER 30 (NEW MOON) – DECEMBER 14 (FULL MOON): This late fall six-week cycle will likely be wetter and snowier than usual across the Pacific Northwest and the northern portions of the country near the Canadian border. The rest of the nation should be cool, windy and drier than normal.

SOUTH AMERICA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 9TH

It’s still too dry across northern and central Brazil and much of Paraguay. The double-cropped corn has been hurt by drought and heat during pollination. Much of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina are expected to be drier in the next 10 days finally allowing soybean harvesting, but there still will be scattered showers.

In central Brazil, the rainy season has ended early. The double crop corn has been seriously hurt by drought and heat during pollination. Crop losses are now predicted to be as high as 40 percent, which is vital for cattle feeding operations. Cane sugar has likewise suffered from drought.

AUSTRALIA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 9TH

The weather patterns across Australia continue to reflect the drying effects of a dying El Nino, especially in the western and southern portions of the continent. However, scattered showers in eastern Australia have improved crop prospects and should persist into the month of June.

Recent rainfall has helped against the hot temperatures in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The hot weather has accelerated cotton and sorghum development.

CANADA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 9TH

The Prairie Provinces will see scattered showers and a few thunderstorms well into early June. Temperatures will be warming into the low to mid 80s by May 30 to June 5 across south-central Canada.

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NEW 180 DAY LONG RANGE WEATHER OUTLOOK:

NEW 180 DAY LONG RANGE WEATHER OUTLOOK:

THROUGH JUNE 20 (FULL MOON): With El Nino’s demise, the tropical storm and hurricane season may be getting off to a fast start. The second named storm, Bonnie, could form over the holiday weekend and bring showers and thunderstorms to the southeastern U.S. coastline. The rest of the East Coast is expected to have summerlike weather with temperatures climbing into the 80s all the way up New England.

In the central U.S., more showers and thunderstorms are expected across parts of the central and southern Great Plains and into the Corn Belt. Tornadic activity may be seen in the central and southern Plains into the holiday weekend. The unsettled weather in this part of the country is forecast to continue into next week.

Overall, we’re expecting that the Midwest Corn and Soybean Belt will be a bit COOLER and WETTER into mid June before things turn both warmer and drier than normal later in the period.

JUNE 20 (FULL MOON) – AUGUST 2 (NEW MOON): With El Nino gone, this mid summer cycle is expected to be both HOT and DRY to east of the Mississippi River. The East Coast will be wetter and a bit cooler than usual. The western areas should have near to above normal precipitation overall with occasionally hot temperatures. However, readings will not be as torrid as the summer of 2015 across the Northwest.

AUGUST 2 (NEW MOON) – SEPTEMBER 16 (FULL MOON): With an expected La Nada or early La Nina pattern in the south-central Pacific Ocean, this late-summer six week cycle should be drier than usual from California eastward to the Appalachian Mountains. Pod-filling soybeans in the Midwest should suffer damage from extreme drought and heat. Hurricanes should stay along the East Coast and should be higher in number when compared to the 2015 season.

SEPTEMBER 16 (FULL MOON): – OCTOBER 30 (NEW MOON): It will be quite chilly this early to mid autumn with early freezes near the Great Lakes. The rest of the U.S. will see normal to drier than normal weather under high pressure. Hurricanes will threaten the southeastern U.S. as El Nino should no longer influence weather patterns.

OCTOBER 30 (NEW MOON) – DECEMBER 14 (FULL MOON): This late fall six-week cycle will likely be wetter and snowier than usual across the Pacific Northwest and the northern portions of the country near the Canadian border. The rest of the nation should be cool, windy and drier than normal.

SOUTH AMERICA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 6TH

It’s still too dry across northern and central Brazil and much of Paraguay. The double-cropped corn has been hurt by drought and heat during pollination. Much of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina are expected to be drier in the next 10 days finally allowing soybean harvesting, but there still will be scattered showers.

In central Brazil, the rainy season has ended early. The double crop corn has been seriously hurt by drought and heat during pollination. Crop losses are now predicted to be as high as 40 percent, which is vital for cattle feeding operations. Cane sugar has likewise suffered from drought.

AUSTRALIA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 6TH

The weather patterns across Australia continue to reflect the drying effects of a dying El Nino, especially in the western and southern portions of the continent. However, scattered showers in eastern Australia have improved crop prospects and should persist into the month of June.

Recent rainfall has helped against the hot temperatures in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The hot weather has accelerated cotton and sorghum development.

CHINA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 6TH

Much of central China need rain to supplement irrigation. Temperatures are likewise too warm for late May. Some showers may arrive this next week.

Southeastern China has also been experiencing some of the record heat and dryness that has been seen across southeastern Asia.

RUSSIA’S AND UKRAINE’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 6TH

Winter grains and developing summer crops will continue to benefit from occasional rains and mild temperatures. No big heat is yet in sight.

CANADA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 6TH

The Prairie Provinces will see scattered showers and a few thunderstorms well into early June. Temperatures will be warming into the low to mid 80s by May 30 to June 5 across south-central Canada.

WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

U.S. WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

We’re in the middle of a very active “full moon” lunar cycle. Additional storm systems are expected to bring more rain and thunderstorm activity, possibly severe for the rest of the week across the Great Plains and Corn Belt states. Strong thunderstorms may fire up again in the southern Great Plains by Thursday moving into the Corn Belt on Friday.

The “full moon” pattern of showers and thunderstorms may continue across the central U.S. into the Memorial Day weekend. More rain and thunderstorm activity is likely across much of the Great Plains and Corn Belt in early June. Drier and warmer weather is forecast in these areas later next month.

Elsewhere, there will be off-and-on rains in the Pacific Northwest throughout the week. The East Coast will be mostly dry this week with high temperatures warming into the 80s all the way northward into New England.

CANADA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

The Prairie Provinces will see scattered showers and a few thunderstorms well into early June. Temperatures will be warming into the low to mid 80s by May 30 to June 5 across south-central Canada.

AUSTRALIA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

The weather patterns across Australia continue to reflect the drying effects of a dying El Nino, especially in the western and southern portions of the continent. However, scattered showers in eastern Australia have improved crop prospects and should persist into the month of June.

Recent rainfall has helped against the hot temperatures in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The hot weather has accelerated cotton and sorghum development.

SOUTH AMERICA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

It’s still too dry across northern and central Brazil and much of Paraguay. The double-cropped corn has been hurt by drought and heat during pollination. Much of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina are expected to be drier in the next 10 days finally allowing soybean harvesting, but there still will be scattered showers.

In central Brazil, the rainy season has ended early. The double crop corn has been seriously hurt by drought and heat during pollination. Crop losses are now predicted to be as high as 40 percent, which is vital for cattle feeding operations. Cane sugar has likewise suffered from drought.

SOUTH AFRICA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

Recent moderate rains within the last month have improved the late- planted maize crop that survived the extended period of searing heat and parching drought. But, crop losses remain, which are extensive in many areas throughout hungry Africa, where the epic drought in Ethiopia is termed “the worst in 50 years.” Millions are facing severe malnutrition and even death from a famine worse than 1983-84.

But, this week saw heavy rains and deadly floods killing dozens of people and more than 1,000 cattle in southeastern Ethiopia.

INDIA’S AND PAKISTAN’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

Both India and Pakistan have seen record heat since late March. Hundreds of people in southern India were killed by the hottest spring in recorded history. Water demands are still increasing for wheat and rapeseed in northern India and Pakistan. Only scattered pre-monsoonal showers will occur during the next 10 days across extreme southern India. To the south of India, Sri Lanka continues to see deadly flooding.

Weeks of record high temperatures of over 110 degrees in some areas have caused hundreds of deaths in southern and eastern India with no rain yet in sight.

NORTH KOREA OUTLOOK THROUGH JUNE 5TH

North Korea is finally seeing some much-needed mid to late spring moisture, but severe drought conditions linger in some areas. Crops are improved over last year, 2015.

MALAYSIA, INDONESIA AND THAILAND OUTLOOK THROUGH JUNE 5TH

One of the worst droughts on record has caused significant palm oil crop losses across both haze-plagued Indonesia and Malaysia in the past ten months. Crop prices have risen including rice and sugar. Northern Thailand has been hit hard recently by drought in the main rice growing regions. No big rains are yet in sight.

CHINA’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

Much of central China need rain to supplement irrigation. Temperatures are likewise too warm for late May. Some showers may arrive this next week.

Southeastern China has also been experiencing some of the record heat and dryness that has been seen across southeastern Asia.

EUROPE’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

A warming trend will benefit crops across northern and eastern Europe in the next 10 days. It will remain too dry from southern Europe into North Africa. The recent cool weather has helped winter grains and oilseeds in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Poland. Winter crops in Spain are also doing well thanks to the showers and cool temperatures.

RUSSIA’S AND UKRAINE’S WEATHER OUTLOOKS THROUGH JUNE 5TH

Winter grains and developing summer crops will continue to benefit from occasional rains and mild temperatures. No big heat is yet in sight.

Spring Weather Does NOT Predict Summer Weather!

It’s amusing to watch some meteorologists change their Summer forecasts in light of how cool April and May have been and or base the forecast on one climate index (ENSO) but I don’t do that here.

The neat thing about the year-ahead statistical/24 climate cycle approach to long range forecasting allows us to remain confident and NOT CHANGE OUR FORECAST…and yes the statistics predicted the cold April-May (even called out the frost/freeze) so my confidence on the scorching hot/dry Summer 2016 remains very high!

I’m emphatically confident that Summer 2016 is going to bring a scorching hot/dry Summer to much of the Eastern half of the country and especially the Midwest Corn Belt to the Middle Atlantic. Yields will be off 13% from last year and YES prices will go much higher in July-August!

So let’s look at some statistics and trends on why I’m so confident.

Middle May drought status DOES NOT PREDICT SUMMER DROUGHTS! Looking back at the past few bad crop seasons Spring started off with little if any drought in the Corn Belt but 60-90 days later moderate to severe droughts developed by August. We think this year is a blend between 2012, 2005 and 1995.

Spring Weather Does Not Predict Summer DroughtsTwo of the major 20-30 year oceanic climate cycles ignored by most confirm a 30% to 40% higher than average risk for widespread Summer drought. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) cycle is at record levels (#1 warmest of past 121 years) as of April. The other index is the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) cycle and it’s a top 9 warmest in 121 years as of April. When both are in their warm phases together the U.S. typically experiences much higher risk for major Summer droughts (see map upper right).

PDO and AMO Much Higher Risk for Droughts in the US

The only index NOAA really uses in making their long term outlooks is ENSO – an El Niño/La Niña cycle. When it’s neutral they admit they have no idea. But there missing a big piece of the equation here and that’s the CHANGE in the ENSO index and not the absolute value. So, if we look at the change in the Ocean temperatures we can see there is a wholesale pattern shift from a year ago – nothing is even remotely close to last year as we see the plummeting temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, Much warmer off Australia, much colder in the North Pacific, much colder in the PMM index region off Mexico, etc.

Ocean Temperature vs Last Year - 24 May 2016When you compare the current rate of the ENSO index change to prior similar years you get 83% confidence of major heat across much of the U.S. during Summer and 92% confidence on widespread drought.

Summer Trends with Developing La Nina & 23 Other Cycles

The ENSO sub-surface water temperatures remain very cold (1C TO 5C below average) and this will continue to move to the surface allowing La Niña to approach moderate (-1C below average) to strong levels (-1.5C below average) this Summer with near certainty! The change in ENSO Pacific Ocean temperatures is the greatest in 121 years…that is a critical mistake manymeteorologists and NOAA are making.

La Nina Emerging at Warp Speed 18 May UpdateInterestingly when we line up very strong +PDO, +AMO and emerging La Niña you end up with the kind of spring we just had – cool with normal to above normal rainfall. But look what happens for Summer – an epic change toward scorching heat, drought and dry weather. Trying to assess which exact counties will be hardest hit is borderline impossible but the picture here shows HIGH RISK.

PDO and AMO + Emerging La Nina = Very Hot, Dry Summer In Corn BeltEvery farmer knows that the period 45 to 90 days after planting is the most critical period to determine ultimate yields and that window is when we are very concerned for major heat and dry weather. 1995 is a year we think is most representative of this year and that year had excessive Spring rainfall (22% above average and 3rd most in 121 years) only to make a huge flip toward a very hot/dry Summer with yields off 22% from 1994. It’s also the last time that both Brazil and the U.S. had bad crop years together – 2016 is that year! The OK spring years in 1995, 2002, 2005, 2012 and now 2016 DID NOT PREDICT THE ULTIMATE HEAT/DROUGHT WITH YIELDS OFF 7% TO 22% just a few months later!

Silking, Pollination, Denting & Kernal Set Weather - 21 Jun-21 AugAnd let’s look at July in particular from another perspective since we’ve had three straight July’s with temperatures 1F below average for the Corn Belt as a whole (see chart above). Looking back at the past 121 years there have been three periods (early 1970s, late 1950s and way back in 1904-1906) where there were 3 straight cold July’s in a row…but NEVER 4!!! So, another statistic suggesting 100% confidence that July is going to be very hot!!!

Finally, let’s clarify some confusion when looking at NOAA outlooks as Bloomberg News just repeated this common misunderstanding. When you see white on NOAA’s outlook where it says EC (Equal Chances) that DOES NOT MEAN NORMAL WEATHER. It actually means they don’t know with a 33% chance it’s hot, 33% chance its cold and 33% chance its average. In this May 2016 example we see NOAA did well capturing New Mexico cold (50% chance of below avg temps – a high confidence forecast for NOAA) but completely missed the coldest May in 8 years to date in the Corn Belt and Northeast that had major frost/freezes and even snow…very similar to what happened in May 2005!

Media Misrepresents NOAA Outlooks

So, PLEASE prepare for a hot/dry Summer and much higher corn prices – the statistics and climate cycles are very much in your favor if you like higher commodity prices!

25 May 2016 Wednesday

The first 24 days of May have trended the coldest in 8 years and 1.1F below average for the U.S. as a whole with late frost and freezes mid-month and even snow mid-month in the Great Lakes and Northeast. This has been a huge negative for retail and seasonal merchandise sales with many retailers showing 20% declines in their stock prices the past couple months. Also not particularly favorable for crop development with Growing Degree Days across the Corn Belt the lowest in 8 years, 32% below last year and 22% below average. Rainfall for the U.S. overall is 12% less than last year but still 3% above average for the nation as a whole.

This last week of May makes a wholesale change toward much warmer weather just in time for the unofficial start of Summer. The 25-31 May period trends the warmest in 10 years and 2nd warmest of the past 25 years with national temperatures 3.4F above average. Rainfall is least in 4 years trending 37% less than last year’s very wet end to May and 4% below average.

The holiday weekend (27th-30th) looks awesome in the Northeast, Great Lakes with temperatures trending 10 to 20 degree above normal and mainly scattered afternoon thundershowers. The cool spots remain out in the Rocky Mountains and rain induced coolness in the Coastal Southeast (1-2″ rain). We’ll need to watch the Southeast Coast for the potential to see Bonnie form as the 2nd named storm of the season. Likely to remain week if she does form but just something to ruin the first beach weekend along the Carolina’s. The wettest weather will be TX to AR where 1-3″ and some severe weather is possible and 1-2″ in soggy Nebraska.

Also, check out my latest blog today where I talk about how Spring Weather does NOT predict Summer weather and why why I remain exceptionally confident on a hot/dry Summer!

SO LONG EL NINO. HERE COMES A NEW LA NINA

SO LONG EL NINO. HERE COMES A NEW LA NINA.

According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, the middle of May has marked the end to one of the strong El Nino events in history. This warm water phenomenon is being blamed, at least in part, to generating the hottest global temperatures in more than 130 years as records for worldwide heat have been falling for 12 consecutive months.

The Australian Weather Bureau also said that “sea-surface temperatures have cooled to neutral levels over the past fortnight, supported by much cooler than average waters beneath the surface.” This may be one indicator that the cooler than normal sea-surface temperature event, La Nina, will be forming. The Weather Bureau also said that, “in the atmosphere, indicators such as the trade winds, cloudiness near the Date Line, and the Southern Oscillation Index have also returned to neutral levels.” This means we’re now in a La Nada, the in-between El Nino and La Nina event.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center as well as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology seem to agree that a new La Nina will be forming in the very near future. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center gives a 75 percent chance that La Nina will come to life by the end of the year. However, they also mention that it could form sometime between July and September. The Australian computer models suggests that La Nina may form as soon as next month, but more likely to be seen between June and August.

Thanks to El Nino, palm oil prices hit a two-year high in March as drought hits parts of Asia and Australia. With a new La Nina pattern, heavy rains often return to Indonesia and India. This event also increases the chances of tropical storm and hurricane formation in the Atlantic and Caribbean waters, but decrease a bit in the Pacific Ocean regions.

The latest sea-surface temperature data now shows a stretch of cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures along the Equatorial regions westward to the West Coast of South America. This is a strong indicator that we could indeed see that new La Nina pattern as soon as this summer.

Despite a new La Nada, there is still plenty of warmer than normal ocean waters in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino’s influence continues to be felt across other parts of the world. Across southeastern Asia, eastern and southern Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, severe drought has resulted in food shortages.

I have discussed talking about a new Midwestern heat and drought pattern later this spring and summer that may be similar to the one back in 2012. During that year, extreme heat and dryness killed 123 people. It practically destroyed crops in the Corn Belt and caused over $31 billion in damages. This pattern was one of the worst since the infamous “Dust Bowl Days” of the 1930s. We see the big ridge of high pressure moving into the central portions of the country around mid to late June [see maps below]

outlook

In California, a new La Nina is not good news. The southern portion of the state was counting on record rainfall from what was considered one of the strongest El Ninos in history. Unfortunately, most of the moisture fell to the north as this region received approximately 50 to 60 percent of normal rainfall for the 2015-16 season. In Northern California, totals were near 100 to 150 percent. It did help the drought situation, but many parts of the Golden State will be entering its 6th year of dryness. Lake Mead is now seeing some of the lowest levels in history.

MORE SEVERE WEATHER EXPECTED FOR PARTS OF THE CENTRAL U.S.

We’re in the middle of what is turning out to be a very active “full moon” lunar cycle. Another storm system moving in from the Rockies is forecast to bring damaging thunderstorms and even some tornadic activity to parts of the central and southern Great Plains. The regions with the greatest risk include south-central Kansas southward into west-central Texas. Strong thunderstorms are also possible northward into the Corn Belt into Tuesday.

Additional storm systems are expected to bring more rain and thunderstorm activity, possibly severe for the rest of the week across the Great Plains and Corn Belt states. Strong thunderstorms may fire up again in the southern Great Plains by Thursday moving into the Corn Belt on Friday.

The “full moon” pattern of showers and thunderstorms may continue across the central U.S. into the Memorial Day weekend.

Elsewhere, there will be off-and-on rains in the Pacific Northwest throughout the week. The East Coast will be mostly dry this week with high temperatures warming into the 80s all the way northward into New England.

MORE SEVERE WEATHER EXPECTED FOR PARTS OF THE CENTRAL U.S.

MORE SEVERE WEATHER EXPECTED FOR PARTS OF THE CENTRAL U.S.

We’re in the middle of what is turning out to be a very active “full moon” lunar cycle. Another storm system moving in from the Rockies is forecast to bring damaging thunderstorms and even some tornado activity to parts of the central and southern Great Plains. The regions with the greatest risk include south-central Kansas southward into west-central Texas. Strong thunderstorms are also possible northward into the Corn Belt into Tuesday.

Additional storm systems are expected to bring more rain and thunderstorm activity, possibly severe for the rest of the week across the Great Plains and Corn Belt states. Strong thunderstorms may fire up again in the southern Great Plains by Thursday moving into the Corn Belt on Friday.

The “full moon” pattern of showers and thunderstorms may continue across the central U.S. into the Memorial Day weekend.

Elsewhere, there will be off-and-on rains in the Pacific Northwest throughout the week. The East Coast will be mostly dry this week with high temperatures warming into the 80s all the way northward into New England.

FIRE SEASON OUTLOOK

The first day of summer is less than a month away, which means that wildfire season is fast-approaching as well. The Inland Northwest suffered through one of the worst fire seasons, especially in terms of the number of blazes, in recorded history in 2015.

The majority of the western fires last year were in Alaska as approximately 5.2 million acres were burned. Only the 2004 season was worse when over 6.5 million acres went up in smoke. Normally, Alaska sees fires that claim about 800,000 acres each year.

Wildfires in southwestern Canada consumed over 700,000 acres in British Columbia in 2015. For this year, things are not looking much better for our friends to the north. The disastrous Fort McMurray fire in Alberta has consumed nearly 600,000 acres since it began in early May. This event is the worst disaster in Canada’s history as over 2,400 homes and buildings have been destroyed. Damage may exceed $9 billion. As of last week, this fire was still out of control.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, wildfires in the U.S. burned a record 10.12 million acres in 2015. The previous record was 9.87 million acres set back in 2006. The top three fires in 2015 were in Alaska. The Galena, Tanana and Middle Yukon fires scorched over 1 million areas in that state. The fourth biggest fire in 2015 was Idaho’s Soda Fire which was located in the southwestern portion of the state. Over 279,000 acres were burned. The North Star Fire near Nespelem, Washington, burned about 218,000 acres and sent smoke across North Idaho and eastward to Colorado last August.

For 2016, there have been 17,433 fires reported through May 20. Last year, there were 18,544 blazes through the 20th of May. However, in 2015, approximately 361,000 acres went up in smoke through the middle of May. This year, nearly 1.5 million acres in the U.S. have burned. We’re already ahead of last year, but that does not mean it will be another record season. For example, in 2011, there were 25,189 fires that burned over 2.5 million acres from January 1 through May 13. By the end of 2011, over 8 million acres burned compared to an average of nearly 6.5 million acres.

In addition to the fires in Canada, there have been 2 blazes in Florida that consumed nearly 10,000 acres. One smaller fire in Minnesota burned almost a thousand acres and one large fire in Texas has burned 10,000 acres.

On May 1, the National Interagency Fire Center issued their National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for May through August. The areas with an above-average threat of wildfires this summer include Hawaii, Alaska, the Desert Southwest, Southern California and the Great Basin. Things could be very bad in 2016 for Southern California as extreme drought conditions still persist. The big El Nino rains never arrived as seasonal moisture totals were near 50 percent. The rest of the U.S. is forecast to have a near to below-normal threat of wildfires.

To the north, Canadian officials are forecasting relatively hot and dry weather from eastern British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The drought in Alberta is now expected to worsen this summer, which will not help their fire situation.