Southeast Climate Update and Webinar Recap
January 12th, 2021
Webinar recording is found here
Next month’s Southeast Monthly Climate Webinar is on Tuesday February 9th, 10:00am ET and will include a special '2020 Year in Review for the Southeast' presentation. Register here for upcoming monthly webinars.
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

  • 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 and Flooding

  • 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

  • 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.
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 & 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.
Using ENSO conditions to predict national football championship

  • Since 1960 Alabama has won 13 National Football Championships. 4 during El Niños, 5 during La Niñas and 4 during neutral conditions. 
  • Based on the sample size of 13, there is no significant relationship between ENSO conditions and likelihood of winning a national college football championship.
What happened: Southeast Temperature

A look at temperature departures from normal across the Southeast in the past 30 days. High Plains Regional Climate Center.
What happened: Southeast Precipitation
A look at precipitation departures from normal across the Southeast in the past 30 days. High Plains Regional Climate Center.
Current Conditions: Drought
Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Southeast. No current drought in the Southeast and the U.S. Caribbean. A few pockets of abnormally dry conditions remain. Maps are updated weekly. National Drought Mitigation Center.
Current Conditions: River Flood Status
A look at current river flood conditions. NWS Southeast River Forecast Center.
Looking Ahead: Streamflow Forecast
Streamflow Forecast is more of the same for January, trending to near normal across the entire Southeast by February and March (above). NWS Southeast River Forecast Center.
Looking Ahead: Seasonal Outlooks
NOAA three-month temperature outlook. NWS Climate Prediction Center.
NOAA three-month precipitation outlook. NWS Climate Prediction Center.
Acknowledgments 

Speakers
  • David Zierden, Florida Climate Center
  • Pam Knox, University of Georgia
  • Jeff Dobur, NWS Southeast River Forecast Center
  • Christopher Holmes and Holly Nowell, Florida State University


Relevant Resources

Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC)
  
NWS Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC)

Streamflow Monitoring & Forecasting

ACIS Climate Maps, High Plains Regional Climate Center

National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) - U.S. Drought Portal

NWS Climate Prediction Center, Outlook Products


Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast - Blog

Article on Sudden Stratospheric Warning - CBS News

About this Webinar Series

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.


For webinar-related questions or suggestions, please contact: 
Meredith Muth, meredith.f.muth@noaa.gov