Climate Conditions and Outlooks
- 2020 was very warm and wet for most of the Southeast U.S.
- Record 22 billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. in 2020.
- Slightly warmer and wetter than normal over the last 30 days.
- ”La Niña Advisory” now issued by NOAA, 100% chance of continuing through winter, 65% through spring.
- Negative Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation and Polar Vortex split is overriding typical La Niña impacts in December and January (article link below).
- Looking ahead: NOAA Climate Prediction Center seasonal forecast favors above-normal temperatures and below normal rainfall.
- Drought: Small pockets of “abnormally dry” (D0) over north Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
- Looking ahead: Drought could develop in late winter/spring if the La Niña winter plays out.
Water Resources and Flooding
- Streamflow: Streamflows remain above normal across the Carolinas and Florida, and near normal for Georgia and Alabama.
- Looking ahead: The streamflow forecast is more of the same for January, trending to near normal across the entire Southeast by February and March.
Agriculture Impact and Outlook
- Recent wet conditions have improved stands of winter grains and pastures.
- Cold temperatures have slowed the growth of strawberries and caused some frost damage.
- Chill hours are still behind normal but are improving.
- Looking ahead: Not a typical La Niña so far due to Sudden Stratospheric Warming in late December and expansion/displacement of polar vortex, but it may return to a typical pattern later in winter.
Spotlight: Living with Fire in the Southeastern U.S.
- The southeast U.S. is naturally fire prone and continues to have extensive fires every year, nearly all prescribed and controlled.
- Florida’s prescribed fire policy is offsetting and interrupting the natural moisture and climate control on fire, reducing fire risks for the state.
- Prescribed fires can be forecast, promising for air quality forecasting.
- Projected climate change will likely increase wildfire risk, requiring changes to prescribed fire management.
What Happened: Southeast Temperature
What Happened: Southeast Precipitation
Current Conditions: River Flood Status
Looking Ahead: Streamflow Forecast
Looking Ahead: Seasonal Outlooks
- David Zierden, Florida Climate Center
- Pam Knox, University of Georgia
- Jeff Dobur, National Weather Service (NWS) Southeast River Forecast Center
- Christopher Holmes and Holly Nowell, Florida State University