For the second straight year, the weather phenomenon La Nina is likely to affect the U.S. weather pattern this winter. In an advisory issued earlier this month, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center (CPC) says the cooler-than-normal waters in the equatorial Pacific are likely to linger through at least early spring. Though forecast to be short-lived, forecasters believe La Nina will likely affect temperature and precipitation patters across the United States during the upcoming months.
La Nina winter typically leads to warm and drier conditions in the southeastern United States. This includes Florida and will likely be noticeable. Very cold weather acts as a reset button from one growing season to the next. Freezing temperatures can reduce pest populations from one season to the next. Winter rainfall builds up soil moisture and reduces wildfire risk in the Spring.
La Nina events generally occur every 3 to 7 years and can last anywhere from one to three years in duration. Long range forecast suggests sea surface temperatures in the Pacific will return closer to normal during late Spring or Summer of 2018.
Other Items of Information
- Average 1st freeze date for Lafayette County- November 20th
- Average date of last freeze for Lafayette County- March 15th.
Theses are average dates. We have experienced very hard freezes before November 1st and freezes as late as April 22nd in the county.
- Coldest temperature recorded in Florida: -2 degrees, Tallahassee, Feb. 13, 1899.
- Hottest temperature recorded in Florida- 109 degrees, Monticello, June 29, 1931
I have no way to confirm this, but I remember years ago some of the older citizens saying there was a frost in May, which heavily damaged crops in the area. This occurred around the time of World War I.
Some winter crops that flourish in cold weather are collards, cabbage, onions, rutabaga, mustard greens. If you would like to know more about winter weather or winter crops, contact your local extension office.
Chris Vann- Extension Agent- 4-H/Agriculture