After some beneficial rainfall from Tropical Storm Lee it looked like our drought situation was going to get better. Everyone with the exception of the 231 corridor received some much needed rainfall. Just as soon as parts of NWFL were about to big the 2010-2011 drought over...
the drought causing weather pattern called La Nina is back for another round. This is not completely uncommon as La Niña typically occurs every three-to-five years, and back-to-back episodes occur about 50 percent of the time. Current conditions reflect a re-development of the June 2010-May 2011 La Niña episode. If there is any good new when it comes to this 2nd La Nina round it is the fact that typically the 2nd time around usually isn't as intense as the first round.
Below is the latest drought situation for NWFL from the US Drought Monitor. Notice that across our viewing area we go from no drought in Okaloosa County to the 2nd highest level of drought in Holmes, Jackson, Washington, and Calhoun Counties.
As a refresher... La Nina is an area of abnormally cool water over the equatorial Pacific. While some cooler than normal water seems rather innocent... it has far reaching impacts all over the world... including NWFL. El Nino is the counterpart to La Nina. You can see the latest Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly for the Pacific below... notice the cooler than average water off the coast of South America near the Equator.
As we head into the Fall and Winter seasons La Nina typically brings, warmer and drier than average temperatures to the deep South. That does not mean record cold temps are not possible, but it does mean that most likely the drought situation will not improve. That said, we just pasted the climatological peak of hurricane season (September 10) so we still have half the season to go and La Nina is usually 'friendly' to the development of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin.
We will certainly have to be on guard because the same conditions that brought record snowfall to the northern U.S., record flooding to the Ohio River valley, and a wicked severe weather season last year will all be possible in early 2012.
So, even though we have enjoyed quiet weather over the past week... and even a hint of fall... the weather office is always looking toward what is coming down the pike. Rest assure... the VIPIR7 Weather Team will be on top of it.
Chief Meteorologist, WJHG-TV