Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Outlook for February

It has been an unusually warm, dry winter for the midlands of South Carolina.  In 125 years of records in Columbia this winter is currently the 19th warmest on record for the period of December 1 through January 20.  The rainfall picture has be dismal.  There is a deficit of 2.92 inches since December 1st which means that we have had less than half the normal rainfall.  This includes the heavy rain that occurred today which was also the election primary for the Republican Party (0.75 in., Saturday, January 21).

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has released its outlook for February.  It calls for a continuation of the weather pattern with warmer and drier than normal conditions for the Midlands.  Thus, a warm, dry weather is most likely for the Midlands as well as South Carolina.

The Temperature Outlook for February, 2012.  Note that much of the country will be above normal.

The Precipitation Outlook for February, 2012.  Note the drier than normal conditions for the southern U.S.

Looking ahead into the spring, it looks like it will continue to be warm and dry.  In fact, warmer than normal temperatures are expected through the summer.  However, the seasonal outlooks show an interesting trend.  The chances for drier than normal temperatures decrease toward the summer.

If this is the case, then it may be quite dry for the spring which will intensify the drought.  However, there is hope that more normal rainfall may be in place by summer.  This scenario will still make for a challenging planting season.