Skip to Content

El Nino Update


With all the rain we had in April, I know everyone is wanting it to dry off some to get in the fields. In the month of April, we had about 13 inches of rain, more in localized areas, measured at the weather station outside of Arlington. Normally we average around 4 inches for the month of May. Here are some words from UGA Climatologist, Pam Knox, and what El Nino may bring to us the rest of the year.

The warm pool of water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean continues to move eastward, increasing chances for an El Nino to develop later this summer into fall. In winter, El Nino causes wet and cool conditions in south Georgia as the subtropical jet stream shifts right over the state, bringing clouds and plentiful precipitation with it. El Nino impacts in summer are more subtle and the summer weather patterns tend to be dominated by local storms rather than large-scale weather patterns. However, we know that Atlantic hurricanes are less likely in El Nino autumns, which could be good news for farmers trying to get into their fields in fall to harvest peanuts, since with fewer storms we may experience drier conditions. By comparison, tropical activity in the eastern Pacific Ocean is enhanced. And sure enough, there is already some unsettled weather occurring there which might turn into the earliest eastern Pacific named storm ever if it pulls itself together.

Meanwhile, the wet spring, coupled with recurring cold fronts, have kept soil conditions far from ideal for planting. With the warm and sunny weather this past week, however, farmers should be taking advantage of better conditions to get out into the fields and get things done.

Looking ahead, warmer and wetter than usual conditions are predicted to return May 12-16, with near normal conditions May 16-20. As a whole, May is expected to be near normal in temperature and precipitation, and the summer has an increased chance of warmer than normal temperatures based on long-term trends. There is no skill in predicting summer rainfall this year and there are equal chances for near, above and below normal precipitation.

For more information, contact your local Extension Agent.