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Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar: February 8, 2022

Event Date
February 8, 2022
Event Time
10:00 am - 11:00 am

A more active pattern of precipitation in January and early February helped alleviate drought conditions following a dry November and December. We are still in a La Niña Advisory, and it should continue through April. The three-month outlook shows a higher probability of above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. Streamflow levels are moving back to normal. Some flooding is still expected for late winter/early spring, which is common as this is the recharge period in the region, but the magnitude and number of flood events will likely be below what is typical for the period. Want to learn more about river flood climatology in the Southeast? Check out today’s special presentation! This webinar also provides an introduction to the updated State Climate Summaries.


Introduction and Welcome

Speaker: Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center

  • Webinar focus: Climate and special topics pertaining to the Southeast region.
  • Our special topics today include Southeast river flood climatology and new state climate summaries.



Climate Conditions 

Speaker: Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center

  • January Overview: Overall, temperatures were near to below average for the past 30 days. Precipitation was variable across the region, with above-average precipitation for parts of Alabama and below-average for most of Florida. Winter storms throughout January brought snow to some parts of the Southeast and tornadoes to other parts of the Southeast.
  • La Niña Advisory: La Niña conditions are expected to continue with a 67% chance through March–May 2022 and a transition to ENSO-neutral during the spring/summer 2022 (51% chance April–June). The next update this Thursday, February 10, 2022.  
  • Drought: Recent rains and snow have helped to constrain and even remove much of the drought conditions in the region. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, small pockets of moderate drought (D1) are still found in parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. Heavy precipitation this last week in the U.S. Caribbean, after months of exceptional dryness, is helping to alleviate some of the current drought conditions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The National Weather Service (NWS) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Monthly Drought Outlook shows drought removal is expected in the Southeast region, but will persist in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
  • Looking Ahead, Next Week: The CPC February 12–16 outlook has a higher probability of cooler temperatures and a higher probability of drier conditions across most of the region.
  • Looking Ahead, Seasonal: The current CPC three-month outlook shows a higher probability of above-normal temperatures. There are equal chances of wetter or drier conditions in Virginia, western North Carolina, northern Georgia, and northern Alabama with the probability of drier conditions elsewhere—a typical La Niña pattern for winter. The next CPC seasonal outlook will be released on February 17.



Water Resources: Late Winter/Early Spring Flood Outlook 

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

  • Near-normal streamflows are expected to continue through the spring with the possibility of hovering near the below-normal range in the Florida peninsula and hovering near the below-normal range in Carolinas. 
  • Looking Ahead: There is a below-normal river flood potential. Flooding is expected, but the magnitude and number of flood events will be below what is typical for the period.
  • Additional information can be found here



Agriculture Impact and Outlook

Speaker: Pam Knox, University of Georgia 

  • Cold weather has slowed the growth of small grains and strawberries.
  • Frosts on January 23 and 30 killed off volunteer cotton and soybeans but caused damage to blueberries, vegetables, and other crops.
  • Soils are a little dry, but rain is expected to reduce that.
  • Looking Ahead: Temperatures through mid-February will be cool, resulting in more chill hours, but will warm quickly after that. We have probably not seen the last frost for most of the area north of Florida. 
  • Additional information:



Southeast River Flood Climatology

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

  • The Southeast region is unique because there is no one mainstem river, and many of the rivers are heavily controlled for flood control and hydropower.  
  • The NWS Southeast River Forecast Center is responsible for the production of river forecasts for all rivers that drain into the Atlantic Ocean along the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, as well as the rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico from Mobile Bay to the southernmost tip of Florida. These forecasts are provided to NWS local Weather Forecast Offices and the general public to help with planning and preparedness. 
  • This presentation on ‘River Flooding Climatology in the Southeast’ includes an overview of the methodology, a breakdown by minor versus damaging (moderate/major) floods, and a discussion of how these patterns are influenced by time of year, location in the region, and weather patterns. 
  • River flooding is most common during winter and early spring in the Southeast, with the caveat that the Florida peninsula wet season is summer and early fall. There is a greater percentage of damaging floods in the late summer/fall with tropical systems. El Niño raises the risk of river flooding during winter and spring.
  • For questions or additional information, visit the Southeast River Forecast Center or contact Jeff Dobur.



Updated State Climate Summaries 

Speaker: Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center

  • Updated 2022 State Climate Summaries for all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands provide a concise look at historical climate variations and trends, future climate model projections of climate conditions during the 21st century, and past and future conditions of sea level and coastal flooding.
  • Southeast Temperature Trends: Temperatures in Alabama have not risen since the beginning of the 20th century, one of the few areas globally to experience no net warming. However, the rest of the region has seen temperatures rise from 0.8 degrees F to more than 2 degrees F. Under a higher emissions scenario, historically unprecedented warming is projected for the entire Southeast and Puerto Rico/USVI.
  • Southeast Precipitation Trends: Future changes in total precipitation are uncertain, but extreme precipitation events are projected to increase, with associated increases in the intensity and frequency of flooding. Drought events are projected to increase due to higher temperatures increasing evaporation rates, accelerating soil moisture loss and adversely affecting agriculture. Hurricane rainfall rates are projected to increase, as well.
  • Sea Level Rise Trends: Global sea level is projected to rise, with a likely range of 1–4 feet by 2100, contributing to coastal flooding and saltwater inundation, posing threats to the entire coastal environment in the region.
  • To access a climate summary for your state, visit




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

  • Additional resources for monitoring drought conditions:
  • Register for the next webinars:
    • March 8, 2022, Citizen Science for Understanding Weather and Climate: The CoCoRaHS Volunteer Network
    • April 12, 2022, Acidification in the U.S. Southeast: Causes, Potential Consequences


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.



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