While wet and warm growing conditions are something many Alabama producers are familiar with, that’s not always the case when it comes to winter weather. But according to a story from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), that seems to be on the agenda for Alabama this winter.
The National Weather Service (NWS) recently released their winter forecast, and predictions call for us to be under the influence of the La Niña phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO is an ocean-atmospheric phenomenon that affects the temperature and precipitation in the Southeast.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System Precision Agriculture Specialist, Brenda Ortiz, said the signals for a La Niña winter are strong. Thus, she encourages producers to pay attention to the climate patterns as they prepare for winter crop planting and management.
“The influence of either La Niña or El Niño on the southeastern climate does not usually last a full year,” she said. “However, if the signal is very strong, the influence could last more than a year. Farmers should track the NOAA forecast in case the strength of La Niña increases.”
On average La Niña brings more rain to northwest Alabama during the winter months, so stream flows are higher which enables farmers to pull more water into their irrigation ponds.
She said producers in northwest Alabama can expect warm and wet conditions. The rest of the state can expect warm, dry conditions to persist throughout the winter.
Click here to read more about the El Niño and La Niña phases of ENSO. Plus, Episode 27 of the Alabama Crops Report Podcast highlights the upcoming phase of ENSO to help growers prepare for the fall and winter months.