With severe weather already hitting in early 2023, what can Ga. expect in the coming months?

With severe weather already starting in early 2023, what can Ga. expect in the coming months?
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 5:46 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With severe weather already affecting parts of the South to start 2023, what can Georgia residents see during the rest of the year? WALB’s Jim Wallace sat down with the director of the University of Georgia’s weather network for more.

Pam, the state of Georgia saw another severe weather come through. In the wintertime on Thursday, is this becoming more common?

“Well, Georgia gets severe weather every month of the year. And so it is pretty unusual to get such a strong system, but it’s definitely not unprecedented,” Pam Knox, director of the University of Georgia’s Weather Network, said. “We’ve had other examples of that in the past. People I think are not really expecting to get it, especially after Christmas. When you are thinking about cold weather then you are about severe thunderstorms. But this is the time of year that the actual part of the polar front is down across the southern part of the country. And that means we get this inflow of really warm, moist air, ahead of low-pressure systems, which is the perfect fuel setting up these thunderstorms. And then as the front approaches and brings a lot of dynamic activity to the atmosphere, we get these strong thunderstorms that develop and move across the area. And so it’s a little unusual. It’s definitely not something unprecedented at all.”

So people in Georgia really need to think about the fact that they need to stay weather aware. They need to stay prepared.

“Yes, absolutely,” Knox said. “I grew up in Michigan, where the severe weather season is really more in spring. That’s when I think of severe weather. But here in the South, you can’t really say that. In fact, we have two different seasons of severe weather. One is in the spring and one is in the fall. But every month of the year we have had tornadoes and some pretty significant tornadoes as well. And so people need to be weather aware here all the year long.”

Does this have any impact on Georgia’s agriculture industry? Because I know this is not a big crop time of year for a lot of people. But does it have an impact later?

“It will definitely have an impact,” Knox said. “You know the wind will cause damage to some crops that are winter crops, like forage. So they can get blown over. Obviously, not very active right now, certainly something to be concerned for. I heard from some people this morning that some blueberry bushes are already blooming because we had that cold weather early in the winter. And now it’s been getting warmer again. So they are worried about frost and some potential damage from the cold weather we are going to see this weekend.”