Southeast Climate Webinar Recap
June 10, 2020
A Summary of the
Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar
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, in partnership with the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the NOAA National Weather Service. 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.

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May Climate Conditions and Outlooks

Webinar recording is found here

  • Temperature: May temperatures were cooler in the north, and warmer in the south.
  • Precipitation: Below average precipitation for Florida Panhandle, and southern Alabama. Above average precipitation for western Virginia, North Carolina, and Miami, FL.
  • U.S. Caribbean: Above average temperatures and below average precipitation.
  • Storm events: Flooding in Roanoke; 3 inch hail in Lake Mary, FL; EF-2 and gustnado in South Carolina; Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha.
  • Drought: Current area of drought in Puerto Rico, Florida Panhandle, and southern Alabama. Tropical Storm Cristobal easing drought conditions.
  • ENSO: ENSO neutral conditions are favored for summer, less certain for autumn.
  • Looking ahead: The general outlook is a warm, wet summer. Drought improvement is expected in Florida, and the Southeast may remain drought-free depending on the tropical season.
Water Resources

  • Streamflow: Remains normal across the Carolinas and now Florida.
  • Flood: The majority of the region’s rivers are currently below flood conditions, with a few exceptions along the coastal areas.
  • Looking ahead: Streamflow forecast is near to above normal for the Carolinas, near normal for Alabama and Georgia, and above normal for Florida. Early wet season in Florida may increase flood risk during the summer. Drought potential remains well below normal.
Focus: NOAA 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

  • NOAA is predicting an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. This is a lot of activity, and includes the likelihood of 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes.
  • The main factors behind the 2020 outlook are the ongoing high-activity era in association with the warm phase of the AMO, and either ENSO-neutral or La Niña. 
  • If La Niña develops, the activity could be near the higher ends of the predicted ranges.
  • The current high-activity era began in 1995, and all indications are that it is still in place. Typically these periods last 25-40 years.
  • Regardless of the seasonal outlook, coastal and near-coastal residents need to prepare every year. It only takes one storm striking your area to make for a very bad hurricane season. See Ready.gov and Hurricanes.gov for preparedness tips.
What happened over May: Southeast Temperature

May temperatures were cooler in the North, and warmer in the south. Twenty two long-term stations observed monthly mean temperatures that were ranked among their five coldest observations on record. Temperatures were warmer in the Caribbean, where San Juan, Puerto Rico observed its warmest May on record.
A look at temperature departures from normal across the Southeast in May. High Plains RCC.
What happened over the May: Southeast Precipitation

Precipitation varied across the region, with the driest locations across Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, and much of Alabama. The wettest locations were found in eastern South Carolina, North Carolina, and western Virginia as well as South Florida. Ten long term stations observed their wettest May on record including Ronaoke, VA where flooding occurred. It was dry in the Caribbean, with the driest May on record for St. Thomas, USVI.
A look at precipitation departures from normal across the Southeast in May. High Plains RCC.
Current Conditions: Drought

Current area of drought is in the Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tropical Storm Cristobal is easing drought conditions in Florida and Alabama.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Southeast. Maps are updated weekly. National Drought Mitigation Center.
Current Conditions: River Flood Status

Lingering floods from rainfall at the end of Mayis heading to the coast. Most minor floods will likely go away over the next couple of weeks, with the exception of the Waccamaw River in South Carolina due to the flat terrain.
A look at current river flood conditions. NWS Southeast River Forecast Center.
Looking Ahead: Streamflow and Flooding Forecast

Streamflow forecast is near to above normal for the Carolinas, near normal for Alabama and Georgia, and above normal for Florida. The early wet season in Florida may increase flood risk during the summer.
Three month (June/July/August) forecast for streamflow. NWS Southeast River Forecast Center.
Acknowledgments 

Speakers
Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center
Todd Hamill, NWS Southeast River Forecast Center
Gerry Bell, NWS Climate Prediction Center

Relevant Resources

Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC)
  
NWS Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC)
https://www.weather.gov/serfc /

Streamflow Monitoring & Forecasting
http://waterwatch.usgs.gov  

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

Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast - Blog

Hurricane Preparedness Resources

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