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Posted by Tammy Sons on Dec 31, 1969

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How El Nino Affects Growth in the US

Most of you have noticed the recent climate change, which may affect your crops and gardens, especially this year.

El Nino can make certain weather conditions occur around the country. For example, in the Southeast, we have experienced a low number of tropical systems affecting the Gulf Coast.

On the other hand, El Nino has done the total opposite on the West Coast. They have experienced some of the worst weather in their history. 

California has remained in drought conditions over the past few years. Hawaii is experiencing more hurricanes than usual. It hasn’t snowed as much as it usually does in places like Utah and Idaho, which depend on snow for their tourist industry.

But probably the most lasting effect El Nino has had on the US is agriculture. 

If you haven’t felt the effects on El Nino one way or another, you will soon. As we have already mentioned, California has been suffering some of the worst drought conditions in over 500 years. 

The effects of the drought will probably affect generations to come. But the rest of the US will feel it too in our grocery stores when the prices of strawberries, grapes, and other food products made in California go sky high because of the lack of rain on the crops.

Drought conditions aren’t the only thing that can affect crops and growth. Rain can also.

In most El Nino seasons, the Southeast may experience more rain than usual. So far, during the summer months, the Southeast has been in a rain pattern a few times this summer where a low-pressure system may sit over the region, causing it to rain for days because the system moves slowly, causing some flooding. 

So far, conditions aren’t as dire here as in California, but that can all change once winter is officially here. 

Standard conditions and weather patterns could change, making it wetter and colder, which could mean danger for some Southern crops like oranges and peaches. 

The Southeast seems to take more of a hit when the weather pattern is in a La Nina pattern. But in an El Nino pattern, crops like corn, peanuts, and cotton, may be delayed more because of the amount of rainfall. 

But on the opposite end of this weather pattern, the wheat seems to be more plentiful during El Nino, especially in places like Alabama and Georgia.

El Nino can also bring out more fungal and bacterial diseases in vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers. Ironically, in a La Nina pattern, the number of diseases in fruit and vegetables is low. The insect populations, however, seem to increase. 

The Northeast and Midwest won’t feel the impact of El Nino until winter when predictions are that harsh winter conditions will batter both regions. I’m sure our friends in those regions of the country probably tell us something we don’t know already.

The US should consider itself lucky because it could be worse. Australia is feeling the effects of El Nino, too, and like California, it is going through horrible drought conditions. 

Since their country is much smaller than the US, the impact can be felt immediately across the continent. There are some good things and bad things that can come from El Nino. Certain crops will be more plentiful than others, and some parts of the country will experience worst weather conditions than usual.

At this point, all that can be done is pay attention to the weather and prepare your crops and gardens accordingly.

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