University of Georgia Agricultural (UGA) Climatologist Pam Knox provided a climate outlook during a recent Georgia Citrus Update webinar.
According to Knox, a strong La Niña is in place in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the winds are now in sync with the ocean conditions. This signifies that La Niña is likely to continue through the winter months and into next spring.
Knox says that with La Niña well established and expected to persist through the upcoming winter season, a warmer than average, drier South and a typical cool and wet North are anticipated.
Based on the outlook, the greatest chances for warmer-than-normal conditions extend across the southern part of the United States from the Southwest, across the Gulf states and into the Southeast. Additionally, the greatest chances for drier-than-average conditions are predicted in the Southwest, across Texas along the Gulf Coast and in Florida.
“For South Georgia, South Alabama and into Florida, we’re expected to be very dry over the winter,” said Knox. “That doesn’t mean we won’t get anything, but it means we’ll probably get less than usual.”
With drier conditions on the horizon, crops will require supplemental watering, particularly for new plantings. The warmer temperatures may provide beneficial conditions for some crops, but the conditions are also favorable to extend the active presence of many pests, so growers must be aware.
Increased sensitivity to droughts is expected in spring and summer of 2021.
“After we have a La Niña, things are pretty warm. The soil moisture may be fairly dry going into the next growing season,” Knox said.
For more information, visit UGA’s Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast website.
Ashley Robinson, AgNet Media communications intern, wrote this article.