For Better Or Worse, Spring Blossoms Early For Metro Atlanta | WABE 90.1 FM

For Better Or Worse, Spring Blossoms Early For Metro Atlanta

Feb 20, 2017

Warmer weather is expected to continue in Georgia this week and climatologists say it's part of a pattern of unusually warm temperatures much of the state has experienced this winter. 

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Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist at the University of Georgia, said temperatures have been above average as a whole this winter, and that it's likely to continue. 

"If you like warm weather it's good, but for the peach farmers in particular, it's bad because they expect to have a certain amount of cold weather to make the peaches really blossom properly, and they're just not getting it this year," Knox said. 

According to the National Phenology Network, spring plants have been blossoming up in the Atlanta area more than 20 days ahead of schedule. Knox said warmer temperatures are expected to continue in the next couple of weeks but that there could still be chance of some frost. 

"The Climate Prediction Center says that the chance of above-normal temperatures is likely to continue for at least the next year, and that really relates to the longer-term temperature increases that we're seeing across the whole country," Knox said. "And so, I think we're likely to see more of this in the future."

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, 2016 was Georgia's warmest year on record.

In the month of January this year, temperatures in the Atlanta area on average were 8.7 degrees above normal, said Bill Murphey, Georgia's state climatologist. 

The period from January 1 until February 19 is the second warmest period on record for Atlanta with the average temperature of 52.9 degrees, he said. The warmer than usual temperatures are expected to continue, with some cooler, more seasonal temperatures expected this weekend, Murphey said.

"I  don't see any real long-lived cold air outbreaks on the horizon," Murphey said. "There will be a few dips here and there." 

When asked if Georgia was experiencing an earlier spring, Murphey said, "I would say yes, but even if not, then we're going to be experiencing earlier spring conditions."