What was supposed to be wasn’t with the La Nina weather pattern this winter. Expected warm and dry conditions gave way to cool and wet conditions that lasted through February.
Persistent rains this winter provides hope for farmers that they will avoid a drought during the growing season, says Pam Knox, University of Georgia Extension Agricultural Climatologist.
“(South Georgia) hasn’t had much rain lately, other than this past weekend, but I think they’re in good shape going into the growing season. Usually after a La Nina winter, it’s usually pretty dry in the spring and we have to watch carefully for drought,” Knox said. “We did not have a very typical La Nina winter this year. Statistically, you say 9 out of 10 years it’s going to be dry going into the growing season after a La Nina. This is that one out of 10 year where that doesn’t happen. It gives me some confidence that we’re going to be able to make it through the growing season without having to worry too much about drought this season.”
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Georgia has sufficient moisture except for an area in north Georgia, stretching from Henry County to Hart County; and along the Georgia-Alabama line. Alabama also has enough moisture except for Cleburne County and parts of Randolph and Chambers County.
Most of southern and central Florida is abnormally dry. Even some areas of the southern region are in a moderate drought.
“In Florida, especially the southern part, it has been pretty dry. A lot of Florida agriculture is irrigated. As long as they can get access to water, it’s not going to be a huge issue,” Knox said. “I think the latest Climate Prediction Center Forecast is that the drought is likely to go away. They do expect more rain to come in. It’s the dry season right now anyway.”
— to southeastagnet.com