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Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar

Event Date
January 12, 2021
Event Time
10:00 am - 11:00 am

The Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar series is held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 10:00 am ET. This series is hosted by the Southeast Regional Climate Center, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the NOAA National Weather Service. These webinars provide the region with timely information on current and developing climate conditions such as drought, floods and tropical storms, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña. Speakers may also discuss the impacts of these conditions on topics such as agriculture production, water resources, wildfires and ecosystems.

Webinar focus: Climate and special topics pertaining to the Southeast region


Welcome and Introduction

Speaker: Meredith Muth, NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

  • This webinar series is brought to you on behalf of NIDIS, the National Weather Service, and the Southeast Regional Climate Center.



Climate Conditions and Outlooks in January

Speaker: David Zierdan, Florida Climate Center

  • 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, 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 Overview

Speaker: Jeff Dobur, Southeast River Forecast Center

  • Streamflow: Streamflows remain above normal across the Carolinas and Florida, and near normal for Georgia and Alabama.
  • Looking ahead: 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

Speaker: Pam Knox, University of Georgia

  • 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 still behind normal but improving.
  • Looking ahead: Not a typical La Nina 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.



Special Presentation: Living with Fire in the Southeastern U.S.

Speakers: Christopher Holmes and Holly Nowell, Florida State University

  • 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 & 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.




Speaker: Meredith Muth, NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

  • Our next webinar is on February 9 at 10 am EST and will include a "2020 Year in Review" presentation from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.
  • If you have suggestions to improve these webinars, please contact Meredith Muth (