First call for early freeze

Planalytics projects Jack Frost to arrive at least a week early.

If historic weather models are reliable future indicators, this fall's first freeze may arrive earlier than normal. That's the call from Fred Gesser, senior business meteorologist for Planalytics, a business weather forecasting company based in Wayne, Pa.

Back in February, Planalytics predicted that cooling waters in the Eastern Pacific would likely bring extreme weather conditions to many crop and livestock producing areas later this spring and summer. Severe flooding in the Southwest and severe drought in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic were the worst examples of Mother Nature's extremes.

The analysts studied past weather patterns matching those of 2007 and dying El Nino trends to fine tune their forecast going into fall. Historically speaking, according to Gesser, years having a rapidly dying El Nino flipping to a La Nina, ended up having an early fall freeze, particularly in the Midwest corn and soybean production areas. "It occurred in seven out of our best eight analog years we studied. We're holding to that forecast that this year is likely to see earlier than normal freezes in many parts of the Midwest.

"Our forecast for the Fall 2007 calls for an early freeze of 6 to 12 days earlier than normal." But with much of the U.S. corn and soybean crops ahead of normal progress, he adds, it remains to be seen how much impact an early might have.

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