Sturey said that when water temperatures are colder in the Pacific Ocean (La Nina), that our area will experience a warmer and dryer than usual winter. The opposite is true if the temperatures are warmer. If the water temperatures are higher than usual (El Nino), our area will experience a wetter and colder winter.
According to Sturey, a few months ago we were on track to feel the effects of an El Nino.
“Late summer, perhaps early fall, our analysis was that we would probably be in a weak El Nino. However, some of the newest data suggests that we will be just below that”, said Sturey. “It is still warmer than normal, but in a normal type pattern, rather than skewed significantly warmer or cooler.”
So, as of now, the Southeast region of the United States is on track to receive a more typical winter.
Sturey is based out of the National Weather Service’s Greenville – Spartanburg office. His office covers a handful of counties in Northeast Georgia including Elbert, Hart, Franklin, Stephens, Habersham, and Rabun counties.