By this point it should be no surprise that with a strong El Nino occurring now in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the latest climate outlook shows the classic rainfall pattern of wetter than normal conditions across all of the Southeast. In many parts of the region the likelihood of wetter than normal conditions is greater than 80% over the next three months. The temperature in the northern United States is expected to be warmer than normal as expected in a strong El Nino, but here in the Southeast there is no current signal in most of the region because of the competing influences of the El Nino (which leans towards cooler than normal) and the warming trend from climate change (which pushes us towards warmer than normal conditions). However, Virginia is leaning towards warmer than normal conditions since it is closer to the northern states that usually experience warm El Nino winters. This pattern is likely to continue into spring as the El Nino wanes, although there will likely be more variability. Farmers should be prepared for ample moisture in the spring and the potential for delayed planting due to very wet field conditions.

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