Summer 2022 Outlook: Hot and dry conditions expected

La Niña continues, which may lead to hot and dry conditions this summer for Metro Atlanta.

Sure, temperatures have already climbed to the upper 80s this spring, and Memorial Day weekend serves as the unofficial start of the summer season.

But as the calendar flips to the month of June, what should we expect in Metro Atlanta this summer?

La Niña Advisory continues

According to the Climate Prediction Center and NOAA/National Weather Service, “La Niña is favored to continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer (59 percent chance during June-August 2022), with a 50-55 percent chance through the fall.”

La Niña is the presence of abnormally cool Pacific Ocean water temperatures along the coast of South America near the Equator.

This abnormally cool water can impact the weather in North America by generating relatively warmer and drier conditions for the Southeast United States, including Georgia.

As a result, La Niña can exacerbate drought conditions throughout the United States, including the Southeast.

In fact, the Southeast Drought of 2007-2008 occurred during La Niña years. During this time, the Southeast was in the grip of Exceptional Drought, and Lake Lanier registered its lowest water level at 1050 feet.

La Niña was also present during the summer of 2016, when Exceptional Drought gripped the Southeast U.S. again, with numerous wildfires sparking up across Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. The La Niña drought conditions in 2016 unfortunately contributed to the Chimney Tops Fires in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, that killed at least 14 people and destroyed numerous buildings in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

As of Spring 2022, abnormally dry conditions are developing in the Southeast, including Metro Atlanta.

The Climate Prediction Center indicates that there is an equal chance of receiving average precipitation this summer. In an average June-July-August time frame, the city of Atlanta registers about 13.59 inches.

However, I would be on the defense against drought this summer, as I anticipate dry conditions to continue through the summer months.

Caveat to the drier conditions: La Niña favors hurricane development in the Atlantic

It is important to remember that La Niña does favor the formation of tropical cyclones -- tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes -- in the Atlantic Ocean Basin.

This means that an above average number of tropical cyclones are favorable during La Niña summers, but it does not mean those cyclones will make landfall on U.S. soil, nor will those tropical rains move through North Georgia.

Temperature Outlook: Trending slightly hotter than average this summer

Due to the drier than average outlook, I am also expecting temperatures to be slightly hotter than average for Metro Atlanta this summer.

As ground soils dry out, soil temperatures will also quickly heat up. As a result, air temperatures above the ground will also increase, leading to hotter than average conditions.

The hottest temperature recorded in Atlanta is 106 degrees, which occurred on June 30, 2012. And guess what was in place during the Summer 2012? That’s right -- La Niña!

The Climate Prediction Center is leaning towards above average temperatures for early summer as well.

Summer Outlook, in a nutshell

Expect hotter and drier than average conditions across Metro Atlanta and North Georgia this summer. The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts on June 1, and while this summer’s La Niña favors an above average number of tropical systems, there is no guarantee that these systems will bring torrential rains to Metro Atlanta.

Share Your Summer Photos with Me!

Facebook: Christina Edwards WSB

Twitter: @ChristinaWSBwx


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