Wet winter expected for Southeast; cold is uncertain

Published on December 5, 2023 at 2:40 pm

Weather patterns are changing entering the winter season, and this could continue to bring wetter conditions to the Southeast.

A strong El Niño is already in place and is expected to strengthen. The National Weather Service says there is a 1 in 3 chance of a historically strong El Niño that rivals our strongest El Niño events.

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Above-average precipitation is likely for the region this winter, but how cold it gets could be a toss-up for any outcome over much of the Southeast. Above-average temperatures are favored for the North.

The Southeast is coming out of the quietest time of the year climatologically. More weather systems are expected to move through the area this winter, giving a greater chance for flooding going into December and the rest of the season. El Niño also will likely increase the chances of wet events.

Winter officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere on Winter Solstice or Dec. 21 this year, but for meteorologists, the season started on Dec. 1. Broken down into groups of three months, meteorologists closely track the annual trace of temperatures associated with each season.

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What weather did we see last month?

Temperatures were up across the Southeast. Precipitation was below average across most of the region, except in the Florida Peninsula and Keys, where heavy rainfall was observed.

Drought conditions intensified across the West Coast of Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and into the Carolinas.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season concluded with an above-average number of storms and accumulated cyclone energy.

Agricultural effects

Persisted dry weather is posing challenges for small crops, but rainfall has reduced drought slightly in the most affected areas.

Harvest season is mostly done, but strawberries and frost-resistant vegetables are continuing to be planted. The wet conditions in Florida have created concern for citrus and other local crops.

Seasonal effects are always probabilistic, so there is room for some change. Be sure to download the Florida Storms app to stay weather aware with the latest updates and forecasts this winter.

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