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‘Weatherman’ heralds promising forecast

Tue., Feb. 3, 2009, 5:43 p.m.

Cold weather may linger in February and this spring may deliver more snow and rain than initially predicted, according to an expert forecaster who delivered a dose of short-term hope to farmers Tuesday.

“We might have normal precipitation this spring, which is a lot better than what we were predicting last fall,” said Art Douglas, a retired environmental and atmospheric science department chairman from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

Farmers call him “The Weatherman” for his annual prognostications delivered at Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum. His long-range forecasts are right often enough that farmers sometimes factor in his predictions when making their planting decisions.

Last November he warned farmers that the region would dry out this spring and temperatures would turn warmer. He amended those thoughts Tuesday.

Yet this summer and most of 2010 will be very dry as an El Nino settles and strengthens in the Pacific Ocean.

Douglas said one positive may be that temperatures during the summer may be a bit cooler and won’t heat-stress a wheat crop that may already be struggling because of little rain.

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