Extra Warm December Concerns Farmers
Last month was the second-hottest December that Georgia has experienced in 127 years of record-keeping and the 20th warmest on record for the state according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s data shows temperatures statewide averaging 1.1 degrees above the 20th-century average.
USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey explains that Georgia’s experience was part of a global trend.
Rippey: The monthly average temperature was almost 7 degrees above normal and it broke the previous record that had been set in 2015. There were 10 states that reported their warmest December on record including all the states across the central and southern great plains. Some of the numbers were just so off the charts as to be absolutely incredible. So this was a truly remarkable December that nobody has ever experienced before in terms of the record-setting warmth.
Georgia’s temperatures statewide averaged 56.6 degrees. That’s 9.5 degrees above the 20th century average for December.
Georgia’s blueberry and peach farmers have a reason for concerns as all that warmth could leave those fruits susceptible to damage from a late-season freeze. The lack of cold could also prevent plants from growing healthy fruit.
Two Alabama cities not only broke their record high temperatures for single days in December but also had record high temperatures for the entire month according to the National Weather Service. That leaves the same vulnerabilities for farmers in the state