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Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar

Event Date
February 9, 2021
Event Time
10:00 am - 11:00 am

These webinars provide the region's stakeholders and interested parties 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 wildfires, agriculture production, disruption to water supply, and ecosystems. The February 9 webinar also featured a presentation on 2020 in review.

The next Southeast Monthly Climate Webinar is on Tuesday, March 9, at 10 am ET, with a special presentation on the Spring Flood Outlook. Register here for upcoming webinars.


Climate Overview and Tropical Update

Speaker: Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center

  • January temperatures were near average for the region.
  • January precipitation was variable across the Southeast, with above-average precipitation for eastern North Carolina and below-average for Alabama and Florida.
  • The U.S. Caribbean had near-average temperatures and below-average precipitation.
  • Severe weather in the region included an EF-3 Tornado in Alabama.
  • A La Niña Advisory is still in effect and will continue for winter (95% chance January-March), with a potential transition to neutral during spring (55% chance April-June). 
  • Short-term Moderate Drought (D1) is present in Alabama and Puerto Rico, and Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions are present in Florida with a few pockets elsewhere.
  • Looking ahead: Drought development is possible in southern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, and all of Florida.
  • Looking ahead: The next 6-10 days have an active pattern with a probability of colder temperatures (warmer for Florida) and wetter conditions for Southeast. Spring looks to be warm with the southern part of the Southeast likely to be dry.



​​​​​​Water Resources and Flooding 

Speaker: Jeff Dobur, National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center

  • Streamflows remain above normal across the Carolinas and near normal for Florida and Georgia, with near-normal to below-normal streamflows across Alabama.
  • Looking ahead: The streamflow forecast shows more of the same for February but trending to near normal across the entire Southeast by March and April.



Agriculture Impacts and Outlook 

Speaker: Pam Knox, University of Georgia Weather Network

  • Recent wet conditions have hindered field preparation and caused problems for pastures in the Carolinas and Virginia.
  • Adverse weather conditions have caused disease issues for strawberries, melons, and vegetables.
  • Chill hours should be sufficient for most fruit varieties.
  • Looking ahead: It has not been a typical La Niña so far, but it may return to a typical drier pattern later in winter.



Spotlight: 2020 in Review

Speaker: Karin Gleason, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)

  • 2020 was a year of extremes across the U.S. and the Southeast.
  • 2020 was the second warmest year for the Southeast. Minimum temperatures were record warm.
  • 2020 was the third wettest year for the Southeast, with an active storm track over the Southeast for much of the year.
  • Drought impacted mostly Florida during the spring and early summer. Puerto Rico had summer drought.
  • Four tropical cyclones made landfall across the Southeast (Tropical Storm Bertha, Hurricane Isaias, Hurricane Sally, and Tropical Storm Eta).
  • The tornado outbreak of April 12-13 was the most prominent of the year. Strong tornadoes swept through Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
  • 14 billion-dollar disasters impacted the Southeast – 9 severe weather events and 5 tropical cyclones – totaling $37.7 billion (~40% of the total cost for all U.S. disasters in 2020).
  • Useful links from NCEI:



Spotlight: The New U.S. Drought Portal, 

Speaker: Kelsey Satalino, National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

  • The new, redesigned launched in January 2021.
  • Up-to-date drought conditions from the city and county level to across the globe.
  • Interactive maps and data that show drought in new ways, including historical drought information (up to 2,000 years).
  • New “By Sector” section, showing drought impacts on different economic sectors.
  • Improved usability and accessibility.
  • Email questions and feedback on the new website to