The Blob is back. The last time it stuck around around, it raised havoc all around the country.
The blob is a sprawling dome of warm water in the north Pacific, brought about by an even larger mountain of warm air, a high pressure system that has kept Alaska warm and dry this fall. As of mid-October it hasn’t even froze once yet in Anchorage, which is very rare. It’s only froze once in Nome, and Fairbanks is still bathed in sunshine.
The sunny days and warm nights have caused the ocean temperatures to rise. That’s met good news. Southeastern Alaska is a rainforest, and it is in drought right now. Plus, this area is weather central for the western United Stakes and Canada – its where our winter storms form, or in this case, refuse to form.
If the blob continues to grow and remains in place, it will affect the jet stream. This will send winter northward, instead of allowing it to land on the sunny beaches of California. This means, if this pattern continues, we will have an abnormally warm and dry winter in the west while the dreaded Polar Vortex will bring an cold and wet winter to the east.
The last time the Blob formed and kept its shape into winter, it had its way with us for two years. It kicked the California drought into high gear in 2013, and kept the state dry in 2014 and 2015. Likewise, winters were miserable back east in those years. But in 2016, it went away before the first day of winter, and the weather was relatively normal. So its really too early to say the blob definitely will cause a dry year in California – all anyone can say is, the portents are not good for a wet year.
To go any further than that, we need to read our tea leaves or consult a mystic. We’ll just have to wait and see if we are heading back to drought and misery or if the weather will get back to normal for us.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West and Citrus Industry Magazine. Visit us on the web at www.citrusindustry.net.