Hasta La Vista El Nino

By: Shane Motley Email
By: Shane Motley Email

This past summer and into the early winter, surface temperatures in the waters of the equatorial Pacific have been running above average. This is known as an El Nino, which results in an active southern branch of the jetstream and typically leads to increased rainfall for Texas .

Over the past few months, the waters in the equatorial Pacific have been quickly shifting back to normal levels (a non-Nino or “neutral” conditions). The current forecast actually calls for a continued cooling of the waters, which will likely lead to La Nina conditions by this summer. A La Nina is essentially the opposite of an El Nino (i.e. La Nina is when the waters of the equatorial Pacific are cooler than normal). La Nina conditions lead to a weaker southern branch of the jetstream, which can lead to drier than normal conditions for Texas .

It appears as though the effects of the cooler waters may have an impact on our weather as soon as this spring. The Climate Prediction Center recently released their latest 3 month forecast, which calls for drier than average conditions for the eastern half of Texas during the 3 month period from April to June. The forecast is based partially on the La Nina potential, as well as a host of other factors including soil moisture, trends in this past winter’s weather, and computer model guidance.

Although the forecast calls for slightly drier than average weather, it does not mean we will be rain free over the next 3 months. In fact, the next weather system is already on the way and it looks like the middle of next week could be rather wet.

Shane Motley
KBTX News 3

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