Climate Outlook

Here is some information from UGA Extension Climatologist Pam Knox:

This has been an interesting growing season from a climate perspective.  April started out with minor dryness, especially in western Georgia.  That disappeared under the extremely wet conditions that lasted through most of April.  But once May started, the skies dried up and many parts of the Southeast experienced almost no rain for the first three weeks.  This allowed fields to dry out and farmers to catch up on their planting but caused some stress on corn and other crops by the end of the month.  Since that time, rain has returned in much of the area, but it has been spotty.  Above normal temperatures have also contributed to stress on plants, and many farmers had to irrigate to provide water for the growing crops.  At the end of July, abnormally dry conditions covered almost 60 percent of Georgia and a small area of severe drought was present in an area centered on Clinch County.

Tropical Season

We are now entering what is usually the most active part of the tropical season.  Due to the presence of El Nino, the number of storms is expected to be lower than average this year.  Dust blowing off of Africa over the Atlantic Ocean is also contributing to the lack of storms so far.  However, the main part of the season is still likely to produce some activity in the coming weeks.  And it only takes one storm, like Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (also a strong El Nino year) to cause tremendous damage, so producers should keep abreast of current forecasts and watch for more activity in the coming weeks.

The prediction for the next few months is for the continuation of above normal temperatures, particularly in southern Georgia and into the Florida peninsula.  As is typical for summer, there is no prediction one way or the other for precipitation.  Scattered thunderstorms and the occasional tropical system will provide rain in some areas, but the exact locations are impossible to determine at this point.  The strong El Nino will continue through the winter, and will likely bring rainy, cool and cloudy conditions to a lot of the Southeast.  In a strong El Nino, the onset of the winter rainy season is likely to be abrupt and could start as soon as the beginning of November, so producers should be prepared to deal with rainy conditions if they are harvesting late in the year

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