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'Million-dollar voice' predicted drought/ISU climatologist Elwynn Taylor

An interesting and entertaining article on the possible 2013 crop year drought. This guy is the spokesman of the Iowa State University weather department. He is saying a "Warmer and Drier" crop year for 2013 and a 20% chance for the drought to continue.

Article is below:


'Million-dollar voice' predicted drought


ISU climatologist Elwynn Taylor is not happy to be proved right.


AMES, Ia. — For several years, Iowa State University climatologist Elwynn Taylor traveled the width and breadth of Iowa, preaching that the cool, moist days the state enjoyed in the first decade of the 21st century would give way to drought.

The moderate weather through 2010 convinced some in Iowa that drought had gone the way of John Steinbeck. But in 2012, Taylor was vindicated.

Iowa suffered its worst drought in more than a half-century.

This spring, three-quarters of Iowa remains in a moderate to exceptional drought, and Iowans’ eyes and ears are fixed on Taylor’s forecasts. He maintains his pace of at least 50 speaking engagements and as many as 1,000 miles per month on the road.

Taylor uses two mediums — radio and the noon civic luncheon — that were not available to Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah or Moses in Biblical times. He suffered neither the execution nor banishment that was the fate of several Old Testament prophets and didn’t have to wait a millennium or so to be proved right.

“I took no pleasure in the drought,” said Taylor, whose face is set in what appears to be a permanent smile. “I simply looked at 800 years of history, through tree rings, and noted that droughts tend to come every 19 years.”

Iowa’s last major drought had been in 1988, so the 2012 drought (which actually began in mid-2011) was a bit behind schedule. But for meteorology, that was pretty close.

Although hailstorms tend to be concentrated locally in small areas, drought is a widespread phenomenon capable of throwing the agriculture of an entire state into disarray. Old-timers still recall vividly the near-total failure of Iowa’s corn crops in the record heat waves of 1934 and 1936 and the widespread farm foreclosures of the era.

The 2012 heat did its work on Iowa’s corn last year at pollination time. Corn normally reproduces best in temperatures in the upper 80s. Last July, daytime temperatures averaged in the mid-90s, with several days over 100 degrees.

The heat dropped Iowa’s corn yields by 20 percent to 137 bushels per acre, which made the heady days of the record 182 bushels per acre in 2009 seem long past. The national figure was even worse: 123 bushels per acre.

Leviticus 26:4:Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”

Taylor, 71, developed both his Mormon faith and interest in meteorology early growing up near Logan, Utah, where his father ran a cattle operation.

By age 12, young Elwynn had read the entire Bible, and had marked all passages pertaining to weather in red ink.

“I knew at age 12 that about one-third of the verses in the Bible pertain to weather or climate in some way,” Taylor said.

So a directive from the local bishop to evangelize among local people but avoid talking about the weather and sports struck young Elwynn as misguided.

“I had to screw up my courage and tell the bishop that the Bible was full of references to the weather,” said Taylor, recalling the incident with a laugh. “The bishop told me, ‘You can be the exception.’ ”

Taylor went on to study meteorology and botany at the Ph.D. level. After service in the U.S. Army and another stint at the National Weather Service in Auburn, Ala., he arrived at ISU Extension in 1979.

His baritone speaking tone was described as “the million-dollar voice” by then-Associate Dean Louis Thompson of the ISU College of Agriculture.

So Taylor, without formal broadcast training, became the voice of ISU Extension on radio stations and now through Internet streaming. Until three years ago, Taylor was a regular on WOI radio, and still is on KWMT in Fort Dodge.

Many other Iowa radio stations, especially those serving farm audiences, regularly call for the weather messages Taylor records in his office in Agronomy Hall on the ISU campus.

Amos 4:7:And also I have withholden the rain from you, when [there were] yet three months to the harvest; and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city; one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.”

Taylor and his fellow meteorologists note that Iowa’s weather has become more inconsistent in the past two or three years. Even the 2012 drought didn’t completely cover the state. Some farmers were able to get the 200-bushels-per-acre corn yields that now are the goal of most Iowa farmers.

“What happened since 2011 has been the strongest La Nina, (the cooling of Pacific Ocean waters) since 1955-56,” Taylor said. “That coincided with a severe drought back then.”

At present, Taylor and other meteorologists, not to mention the Iowa farmers who now produce $20 billion worth of corn and soybeans annually, are waiting anxiously for El Nino, the warming of Pacific Ocean waters that is the farmers’ friend.

“El Nino tends to produce good rainfall over the North American continent,” Taylor said.

But right now the forces that switch La Nina and El Nino seem to be stuck in neutral. In fact, Taylor said, the meteorological odds are 50 percent continued neutral, 30 percent change to El Nino, and 20 percent reversion to La Nina and a continuation of the drought.

“The best forecast for this growing season will be dryer and warmer than usual, but not quite as dry and warm as 2012,” Taylor said.

Isaiah 58:11:And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose wate


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3 Replies

Re: 'Million-dollar voice' predicted drought/ISU climatologist Elwynn Taylor

It seems everyone is avoiding responding to this as if it were the plague. Weather experts in my area agree with this guy's assessments. Now, imagine the surprise of traders as they misread the fundamentals, again.
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Honored Advisor

Re: 'Million-dollar voice' predicted drought/ISU climatologist Elwynn Taylor

Maybe they think if they ignore it, it will go away....

This is honestly one of our colder winters winding down, in what local forecasters say may be one of those years with no real spring. Our meteorological spring is already a month gone, and it is still not anywhere near looking like last frost is coming. It is beautiful outside, low 70s today, back below freezing at nighttime in a couple of nights, and fifties for several days.

Looking at our grass and the overseed of cereal rye in NC today, it stands at least a month behind last year on April 1st.

We have been warned thst things may be a straight changeover from heating to AC, with no in-betweenthis year. Even when we have a little warmth, like today, you feel chill air if a cloud passes over the face of the sun. Not a normal March at all...didn't go out like a lamb.

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Re: 'Million-dollar voice' predicted drought/ISU climatologist Elwynn Taylor

No real spring is our normal here.  It's much better than last year.  Generally, if we have a real cool spring delaying planting, rainfall in the summer is better as well.  Not always, but on average.


The hope here is the drought weather slacks off enough to get rainfall patterns closer to normal. 


Price-wise, it wouldn't hurt if the corn belt experienced weather stress through the growing season....balances out the extremes that we had earlier when they had record crops.

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