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Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar: April 23, 2024

Event Date
April 23, 2024
Event Time
10:00 am - 11:00 am

The Southeast U.S. continues to be warmer than normal across much of the region. Drought is largely absent, and many rivers and creeks experienced flooding over the last month.

Warm and wet conditions are expected to continue through the spring and early summer. Drought is not expected to re-emerge widely across the region, although water demand is increasing as we transition into the spring. There is a slightly above-normal risk for river flooding.

Check out the recording below to hear more on Southeast climate conditions and a special presentation, "Loading the Dice: How Risk and Vulnerability Are Changing the Southeast Tornado Disaster Landscape” from Dr. Walker Ashley of Northern Illinois University. For more information, please contact Meredith Muth (


Introduction and Welcome

Speaker: Chris Fuhrmann, Southeast Regional Climate Center

  • This webinar contains a special presentation on ""Loading the Dice: How risk and vulnerability are changing the Southeast tornado disaster landscape."



Southeast Climate Conditions 

Speaker: Chris Fuhrmann, Southeast Regional Climate Center

  • Temperatures were above average across the region. Several locations in the Caribbean are off to one of their warmest starts to the year.
  • Precipitation was variable across the region. The wettest locations were found in southern Georgia, North Florida, South Florida, and eastern portions of North Carolina and Virginia; the driest locations were found across the interior of the region from central Alabama to southern Virginia, as well as parts of the Florida Peninsula. Precipitation was above average across the Caribbean.
  • Drought conditions continued to improve. Small pockets of Moderate Drought (D1) remain across western Tennessee and northwest Puerto Rico; Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded across eastern portions of North Carolina and Florida and persisted on Saint Thomas; drought removal is expected in Tennessee and Puerto Rico with no new development across the region through mid-summer.
  • El Niño continued to weaken and is expected to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions later this spring, with La Niña likely developing later this summer.
  • The next two weeks are expected to be warm, with wet conditions across the interior of the region and dry conditions across much of Florida and coastal sections of North Carolina and Virginia. For weeks 3 and 4, there are equal chances of above- and below-average temperatures and precipitation across the region. 
  • Over the next three months, temperatures and precipitation are expected to be above normal across the Southeast and Caribbean regions.
  • For more information, contact Chris Fuhrmann.
  • Additional regional climate and drought information:



Water Resources Outlook 

Speaker: Todd Hamill, Southeast River Forecast Center, National Weather Service

  • Many rivers and creeks have had flooding in the last month. The south Georgia and Florida Panhandle area received significant rain this past month, with major flooding in the Suwannee river basin. 
  • Heavy rainfall in other areas only produced mostly minor flooding because there is increased competition for water in the spring due to increased vegetation demand and evaporation.    
  • The rest of the Southeast remains fairly wet. The 28-day U.S. Geological Survey streamflows are mostly near normal across the Southeast, with some small areas above normal and some small areas below normal.
  • Looking Ahead: As El Niño wanes, the Southeast U.S. is becoming less active. River flood risk is slightly above normal to near normal through spring into early summer. Most of the Southeast will need some significant rain to rise to moderate levels at this time.
  • Additional streamflow and flood information is available from the NWS River Forecast Centers
  • View a recording of the April 2024 NWS Water Resources Outlook for the Southeast.
  • For more information, contact Todd Hamill.



Agricultural Impacts and Outlook

Speaker: Pam Knox, University of Georgia

  • Wet and windy conditions earlier in the month caused planting delays and problems with spraying, but a lot of recent field work has been completed and planting is catching up.
  • Delays from earlier wet conditions caused some farmers to switch from corn to cotton or peanuts.
  • Fruit crops and pastures are generally looking good.
  • The chance of frost is mostly gone except in higher elevations and parts of Virginia.
  • For more information, contact Pam Knox.
  • Additional Information:



Special Presentation: How Risk and Vulnerability Are Changing the Southeast Tornado Disaster Landscape​

Speaker: Walker S. Ashley​, Northern Illinois University

  • Severe thunderstorm and tornado impacts are driven by two dynamic disaster constituents: risk and vulnerability. While these ingredients vary markedly across scales, they overlap significantly in the Southeast U.S., resulting in the region’s high damage losses and mortality. Research is uncovering how these disaster constituents will change in the future.​
  • The latest research on the changing risk landscape suggests severe convective storms will become increasingly more frequent along and east of the Mississippi River with the potential for higher magnitude perils. These changes are driven by fundamental shifts in the ingredients required for severe storms. The Southeast’s high nocturnal tornado risk plays an important role in the impacts realized, as well. ​
  • Disaster occurs because people are vulnerable—that for physical, economic, and/or social reasons, they are exposed and will suffer if a storm strikes. This is particularly the case in the Southeast, which has experienced, and is projected to continue to experience, a significant increase in exposure, with an extremely high proportion of people living in wind hazard–susceptible mobile/manufactured housing.​
  • So, while climate change may modify severe storm risk, disasters are social constructs. Overlapping risk and vulnerabilities—including, most importantly, exposure—is the major contributing factor to the severe storm disaster problem.​
  • Increasing severe storm impacts are contentious and a multifaceted problem to solve in the face of continued development. The real challenge is not scientific (e.g., improved forecast skill, etc.) … it is social and political. The best long-term mitigation and sustainability efforts focus on successful adoption, improvement, and enforcement of building codes and land planning policies.​
  • For more information, contact Walker Ashley.



Q&A and Closing

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

  • Register for the next webinars!
    • May 28, 2024: Climate in the U.S. Caribbean
    • June 25, 2024: 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
    • July 23, 2024: Climate Impacts on Engineering, Infrastructure, Design Application


About This Webinar

The Southeast Climate monthly webinar 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