There’s no point in trying to say otherwise at this point. After getting strong indications last summer than an El Nino was going to develop it stalled out in October. It looked like we were on-tap for a weak El Nino event as late as December. Trends this month have the outcome written in stone. After much hope and expectation we’ve reached the point where we no longer expect an El Nino event to occur this winter. A neutral pattern does not mean we won’t see precipitation it means we could go either way.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has discontinued their El Nino Watch and are now indicating conditions are neutral. That means we’re not in an El Nino or La Nina. Indications are that we’ll remain in a neutral pattern into the spring months. Typically an El Nino brings cool and wet weather to Texas while a La Nina can result in warm and dry weather. So we’ve been in a neutral pattern most of this past fall into this winter. Obviously our prediction of above-average precipitation with cooler than average temperatures has not materialized as expected. We’ve had several precipitation events this winter but nothing above normal in terms of precipitation totals or the number of events. The hope was we would end up having several beneficial precipitation events across Texas during the winter. While we’ve had precipitation events over the past few months we have not seen much in the way of drought relief.
Unfortunately drought conditions have deteriorated across parts of Texas. The drought outlook as we head into springtime is not good with an increased possibility that we’ll see deterioration and expansion of drought conditions.
The latest drought monitor released on Thursday continues to show the most exceptional drought conditions across western North Texas, Northwest Texas, up into the central Texas Panhandle. Long-term drought and dry weather over the past few months has resulted in significant impacts on agriculture and lake levels. Moderate to severe drought continues across all of the Panhandle, Central, South-Central, and Northeast Texas. I know you don’t need me telling you about the current drought and I won’t try to detail it.
What we need to hope for is a wet and active spring. While we are not in an El Nino that does not mean we cannot see beneficial precipitation. Hopefully we’ll end up in an active weather pattern this spring which will help bring in the rains. While many associate the spring-time months as our primary severe weather season (which it is) it also can bring good rains. We’ll see what happens but I for one don’t put much faith in long-range weather outlooks. We have enough problems trying to get the forecast right a week down the road – not to even get started on one or three month outlooks. We will have to simply wait and see what happens. In the short term we’re looking forward to the good rain event expected this weekend.