Climate expert Art Douglas delivered his 32nd annual weather outlook to attendees of the “CattleFax Outlook 2009” session in Phoenix on Thursday.

“Cold La Nina conditions along the equator will continue to keep the tropical jet stream weaker than normal across the southern tier of states. With a weak jet, late winter and spring drought will continue to strengthen from California into Texas and the Southeast. Drought impact will be most severe in California and Texas and sections of the Piedmont.

“The heavy snow pack in the northern Corn Belt will retard spring warming and result in excess oil moisture from the eastern Dakotas into Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern sections of Iowa and Illinois. This will not be favorable for early field work in the upper Midwest. La Nina conditions are forecast for the late spring and this should result in normal to slightly below normal rainfall in the central Corn Belt.

“Assuming La Nina conditions persist into the middle of the summer, the best bet is for a slightly warmer and drier summer from the northern Rockies into western portions of the Corn Belt. The summertime ridge of high pressure across the nation should be stronger than normal due to the combined effects of La Nina, a warm Atlantic and a cold East Pacific. This combination typically favors a relatively active summer monsoon pattern in the Southwest.

“Argentina and Uruguay continue to be gripped in severe drought while crop areas of Brazil appear to be progressing well. Only slight improvement in likely in the crop in Argentina during the next month. Australia continues to be gripped by drought in the southern two-thirds of the continent while the north is enjoying a healthy summer monsoon. If La Nina conditions persist into July and August, winter rain areas of southern Australia could show improved wheat and grazing conditions in their upcoming winter.”