NC scientist, researcher says La Niña in part responsible for drought, wildfires

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Drought conditions continue to rage across the Carolinas. While we had our normal dose of rain all year, fall has turned off the faucet.

Since September 1st, most of the area has only seen about 5” of rain. Average for the fall season is over 10”.

Scientists, like Jared Rennie at the National Center for Environmental Information, blame La Nina for the abnormally dry conditions. La Nina is an ocean circulation pattern in the Pacific. When the trade winds are very strong, it pushes the warmer water, leaving a cold pool of ocean currents off the South American coast.

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This ocean circulation interacts with our jet stream or path of storminess. It sends the jet stream farther north, taking the storms from the Pacific Northwest to the Northeast, often missing our region in the Southeast.

These abnormally dry and mild conditions are expected to persist through winter. As of this week, data from NCEI shows the Charlotte area needs more than 10” of rain in a month to cure the drought conditions. Jared Rennie tells FOX46 this is very unlikely.

Here’s a look at that interactive drought reduction map.

While drought conditions this time of year seems to be offseason, the Southeast often gets these dry spells this time of year. The last two severe droughts in the Carolinas in 2007 and 2016 both started in the fall and lasted through winter.

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