Southeast Climate Consortium Freeze Forecast
Issued: September 20, 2005

Damaging Freezes are up to three times more likely this winter (2005/2006) than during El Ni�o or La Ni�a.

The Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC) recently released the winter forecast for Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.  Of the dozen or so devastating freezes that have impacted the fruit industry over the last century or in the Southeast, nearly all of them occurred during times of Neutral conditions in the Pacific Ocean. The table below lists the impact freezes and the corresponding Phase of the Pacific Ocean.

Freeze Event

Climate Phase


December 1894
February 1899
December 1934
January 1940
December 1962
January 1977
January 1981
December 1983
January 1985
December 1989
January 1997

El Ni�o

Increased Risk and Return Periods
The maps below show the increased risk and return periods of freeze events of different magnitudes.  The image on the left plots the increased risk during Neutral conditions in the Pacific Ocean versus the risk during El Ni�o or La Ni�a. The increased risk is presented in terms of odds. For example, the counties shaded blue correspond to 3:1, meaning that such events are three times more likely. The image on the right shows the return period of the event. A return period of 10 years means that an event of that magnitude could be expected on average once every 10 years, given Neutral conditions. Note that this graph indicates your risk THIS YEAR.



 Early/Late Season Freezes
We have found no connection between the Pacific Ocean and first or last frost/freeze dates. Presented here are the expect dates of first and last freezes at the 50% probability level. Simply put, half the time you can expect a freeze before this date and half the time after.

Related Links:
Chilling hours
Current weather for blueberries

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Joel O. Paz
University of Georgia
Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering