Here is an update on weather conditions from UGA Extension Climatologist Pam Knox:
The climate of Georgia this winter has been strongly influenced by El Nino, which is related to cooler and wetter conditions than usual in the Southeast in the winter and spring when an El Nino is occurring. While December did not follow the pattern this year, the rest of winter has settled into a more typical El Nino regime. This is expected to continue through spring, which may mean wet conditions in the fields for the next few months. This may lead to delays in planting which could hurt yield, according to the peanut planting date tool at www.agroclimate.org.
El Nino is already starting to diminish and is expected to return to neutral conditions by May or June before swinging to the opposite phase, La Nina, later this summer. La Nina is associated with dry and warm conditions, which could hurt crop development later in the growing season, but could help with harvest. The only exception is in areas that are hit by tropical storms, which are often more numerous in La Nina years. If a La Nina does develop, next winter is likely to be warmer and drier than usual, leading to the possibility of drought returning to the Southeast in 2017.