The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released projections for winter weather conditions between December 2022 through February 2023. NOAA predicts drier-than-average conditions across the South and warmer-than-average temperatures for the eastern seaboard. NOAA states that La Niña is driving drier and warmer than average temperatures for a third consecutive winter. According to NOAA, La Niña causes winter temperatures to be warmer than normal in the South, cooler than normal in the North, and can lead to more severe hurricane seasons. For precipitation, chances for drier than average conditions are forecasted for southern United States, including much of the Southeast region.
They also expect drought conditions to develop in the southeast. This may not seem like a huge deal for Georgia residents, aside from those who enjoy cold snowy winters, but these conditions have caused major issues in the agricultural industry before. According to NOAA’s 2022 National Centers For Environmental Information State Climate Summaries, back in 2017 freezing temperatures from March 14 to 16, after a very warm winter, had severe impacts on agricultural crops that resulted in overall industry losses of about one billion dollars. An article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also highlights how these projected conditions can affect state farmers.
In the article, an agricultural climatologist at the University of Georgia by the name of Pam Knox explains how important winter precipitation is for the state’s groundwater, streams and reservoirs since less rain and snow is lost to evaporation and most roots from plants absorb less water due to being dormant in the winter. He said: “That’s really our recharge period when we build up our bank account of water for the next growing season, it just makes things a little bit more risky going into the next growing season because we may not have that reserve of water.”
For those that are interested, NOAA has also released a video of their seasonal climate outlook for the country including precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions.