OUR MILD, DRY WINTER HAS A LA NINA TENDENCY

 

2013 La Nina BoundaryThe first two weeks of January 2013 have averaged nearly 10 degrees above average for Jacksonville, following a December that was 2.7 degrees warmer than normal. The equatorial central and eastern Pacific upper ocean waters have approached the temperatures of a La Nina; however, they must maintain temperatures this cold or colder for three months to be an official La Nina. If La Nina forms by this summer, the Atlantic basin may again produce an abnormal number of tropical storms. I’ll continue watching this.

Last summer, waters over the eastern Pacific appeared to be warming enough to produce an El Nino, but the peak of the 2012 hurricane season saw the El Nino fail. Since then it has been an ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) neutral event. Fortunately, the El Nino didn’t develop for our winter and spring. An El Nino would be associated with excessive winter rains for Florida and severe thunderstorm/tornado events during the late winter and spring for the Gulf states and southeastern U.S. A La Nina frequently brings mild, dry winters with occasional brief cold snaps.

Our months following the floods of tropical storm DEBBY in June have been generally drier than normal. Except for the threat of wildfires, it appears that we will continue to have  a mild winter. The only problem is that only one intrusion of polar air from the north can easily cause damage to local vegetation that is flush with new growth between now and mid-March.

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