Statistics Say Warmer, Drier Conditions Expected This Winter

Clint Thompson Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Top Posts, Weather

By Clint Thompson

A La Nina weather pattern was declared a month ago for the second straight winter across the Southeast. Growers should anticipate warmer and drier conditions this year, especially compared to last season. At least that’s what statistics say, points out Pam Knox, University of Georgia Extension Agricultural Climatologist.

Pam Knox

“Last year was a one off. All of these predictions are based on statistics. Statistics say that when you have a La Nina, eight or nine times out of 10, you’re going to have warmer and drier conditions. But last year was an oddball because we had another event called a sudden stratospheric warming that shifted the weather patterns. It was that one year out of 10 where the statistics don’t really work,” Knox said. “Based on statistics when we know it’s a La Nina, there’s probably an eight out of 10 chance that it’s going to be warmer and drier than normal. The sudden stratospheric warmings are not predictable on any sort of time scale. They don’t happen every year, but they happen fairly often.”

“So far it looks to me like we’re front loading the cold. We’ve got these cold outbursts coming down from Canada. That means to me for the stats to work, the rest of the winter has to be fairly warm, but there’s no way to tell that at this point.”

Knox estimated that there is a 70% to 80% chance that the La Nina continues through next February or March.

“After that with a typical La Nina, they tend to die off. By the end of spring, it will probably be back to neutral conditions,” Knox said.