El Nino and Winter Weather

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As the winter season falls upon us, cooler and wetter conditions may be expected in the Southeast. The cause of this is a phenomenon called El Nino, referring to warmer-than-average waters in the tropical Pacific.
David Zierden, Florida State Climatologist says, "There's certainly a potential for more rainfall and even flooding rainfall like we saw during the last big El Nino of 1997 and '98, so that will be a concern especially after the recent rainfall we had in parts of Georgia and Alabama."
In December through March, El Nino typically leads to 40 to 50% more rainfall than normal for the Florida peninsula, and about 30% more than normal for South Georgia. Zierden also says the cool temperatures will provide needed chill hours for Southeast grown fruits and citrus.
Some residents now say they like this weather, but some would like to see it get cooler.
Pat Gernier, a Tallahassee resident says, "Quite honestly I'm not a big fan of the cold, so I think right now, the way it is right now, is fantastic, it's perfect."
Stephanie Hollingsworth, a Ft. Lauderdale resident says, "A little bit colder-not too cold-I don't want to see my breath. But a nice sweater is fine."
El Nino in the winter causes the jet stream current to dip into the Southeast. This provides cold fronts with more moisture and energy, often causing them to be more intense.
WCTV meteorologist Rob Nucatola says, "Usually you can get a pretty wet winter, a pretty cold winter, and when you put wet and cold together you could talk about the possibility of some flooding, so you need to be prepared, you need to keep paying attention. That's the best thing we can tell you to do."
To find out about the agricultural forecast for the season head to www.agroclimate.org.