Parker Weather Service

Here are my thoughts on current expected drought development in Mississippi (as of Sep 21st 2017). The MS drought began back in Fall 2010 and continued well into the first half of 2012 (though in a much smaller area of MS).  

From 2010 to 2012 Atlantic seasons were fairly active. Going into 2013, we got into a Neutral phase of ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) conditions which continued into 2014.

The 2013 through 2015 Atlantic seasons were fairly inactive featuring just between 9 to 15 storms in total, 8 to 14 tropical storms in total, and 2 to 6 hurricanes in total. Within this timer period, the exceptions were 2014 and 2015. The 2013 season featured no major hurricanes. Both 2014 and 2015 included just 2 major hurricanes.

Now going into 2015, the super El Nino was in development. This El Nino continued into January 14th, 2016. As early as April 2016, we were headed into a neutral ENSO to a potential weak La Nina going into the following Summer.

The 2016 Atlantic season featured 16 total storms, 15 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. Matthew occurred during this season. Finally as of December 8th, 2016, it appeared we would begin a transition towards La Nina and that continued into January 2017. Towards the end of January 2017 through May 1st, 2017, there were multiple large tornado outbreaks which has caused , so far,  2017 to be the most active since 2011 in terms of tornado activity.

As of the last count (Sep 5th, 2017), there have been 1331 preliminary tornadoes (3 year average is 1041). To compare/contrast, 2014 had 886 tornadoes, 2015 had 1177, and 2016 had 971. Here is the link on Storm Prediction Center site.

In summary, the potential drought development over parts of MS/Alabama plus the highly active Hurricane season so far in the Atlantic are all signs of a La Nina. Due to this upcoming La Nina, I do anticipate a increase in severe weather/tornado activity across the South going into late Fall and possibly continuing into the winter months.

Meteorologist Johnny Parker

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