Spring has sprung and in typical Georgia fashion it was cold on Monday and warmed into the 70s by Tuesday. A gentleman came into the office earlier this week and said “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait a minute and it’ll change!” For those who are planting a garden this spring this timely update below on the weather outlook for spring summer 2016 may help with decisions.
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.
This is an update from UGA Extension Climatologist Pam Knox.
For more information or questions, contact Effingham Extension agent Sam Ingram at 754-8040 or firstname.lastname@example.org