BEEF Daily

Are You Worried About The Predicted Polar Vortex Coming This Fall?


Long-range forecasters are predicting another polar vortex. Are cattlemen ready for an early return of winter?

Winter in September? Say it ain’t so! After a brutally cold winter and a somewhat cooler-than-usual summer, I’m not ready to hear about snow again, particularly with predictions circling about winter weather coming my way as soon as September.

Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather lead long-range forecaster, says, "The vortex could slip at times, maybe even briefly in September. There could be a significant shot of chilly air that comes across the Great Lakes region sometime in mid- to late-September.

“Temperatures will not be as extreme in November when compared to last year, but October could be an extreme month. October could be a month of snow and cold weather across the Northern Plains and in parts of the northeast Rockies.”

Admittedly, adverse weather warnings for October are an eerie reminder of last year’s Atlas blizzard that hit western South Dakota and surrounding states in early October, leaving tens of thousands of dead livestock in its wake. Even if ranchers are prepared for the worst this year, it’s hard to fight Mother Nature if and when she decides to strike.

If snow starts to fall in September, this will also impact calf health, weaning times, and even harvest.


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Below normal temperatures are also predicted, and it was the brutal cold last winter, not necessarily the snow we received, that made the season so long and miserable.

Pastelok also predicts a continued drought in the Western states and a soggy fall for the South, with tropical weather hitting the Southeast.

"We are looking at a low number count for storms in the tropics in the Atlantic, but we may have a couple more storms on the way," says Pastelok. "We've seen September in past years as an active month during past El Niño years, so don't count the season out yet."

To read more of Pastelok’s predictions, check out his report here.

Are you worried about what the weather will bring this fall? How much moisture have you received this summer? How are your crops and pastures looking right now? Will you take steps to prepare for early weather? Let us know what’s going on in your neck of the woods in the comments section below.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 3

Jim (not verified)
on Aug 18, 2014

Our short hard grass, Blue-grama, is sure taking a hit!The summers of 010 and 011 where hot and dry stressing the plants. Then the drought of 012 was very stressful by teasing numerous green ups without leaf growth by only dropping only a couple of tenths of rain. Resulting in 50% to 70% die off. Now this year I'm counting from 25 to 35 grasshoppers per sq. yd. clipping the leaves off at grade level during a below normal summer temperature resulting in limited growth and many plants still trying to flag.

The short hard Blue-grama this time of the year really add on the pounds in the calf crop. No such luck this year. Anyone interested in bidding on very fat grasshoppers to ship to the grocery stores for replacement protein?

I've deferred grazing the pasture the past two growing season by placing the cattle on fallowed ground planted with a cover crop consisting of forage rye and sweet yellow clover and a second field with Millet, Sorghum, Trickle, Rapeseed and sunflowers. Moved on the first June 6th and off August 6th on to the second field. Planning on rotating through the pastures starting around the middle of October.

A rancher from southern New Mexico (not verified)
on Aug 18, 2014

I am so tired of our now multi-year daily regional predictions of "above normal temperatures and below all rain norms likelihood" that I'd love to experience a snow. I can't remember what that is like. Are heavy snows still cold or are there variants that are "above normal" temperatures? Just wondering and dreamin' ...

Don L (not verified)
on Aug 18, 2014

I've gotten about 4.3 inches of precip in August. Had more than 2 inches in July. Greenup is coming on strong here is SW New Mexico, Grant County. The folks just north of me a couple miles have had over 6 inches so far in Aug.

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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