The Climate Prediction Center released their monthly update with their projections for the next few months. No real big shockers with this update as a predicted strong El Nino pattern should greatly influence our weather this winter. We should begin to see more noticable changes towards the end of October into November and onward. Although some might say the cold front that brought 50s to parts of Texas this morning could be a result of El Nino, for the most part, the effects of El Nino are felt primarily in the fall and winter months. Several locations did set new record temperatures today. Wichita Falls dropped down to 56 this morning which broke the previous record minimum temperature of 57 set in 1940. And Waco set a new record minimum high of 74 which broke the previous record minimum high of 80 set back in 1953.
To sum up the latest outlook for September through November, the northwest half of Texas has a 30 to 40 percent chance of experiencing below-average temperatures this fall. Folks across the southeast half of Texas have an equal chance of below-average, average, or above-average temperatures. Most of the state has a 30 to 40 percent chance of receiving above-average precipitation this fall. That will be especially true towards November which is typically a rainy period for our state.
As we transition into winter, the impacts from El Nino should become more noticeable. All of Texas has an increased chance of experiencing below-average temperatures this winter. Those across the southern half of Texas will be happy to know they have a 50/50 shot of below-average temperatures this winter. Although that higher chance could be attributed to the higher average temperatures compared to folks further north.
We continue to expect a relatively active winter in the precipitation department as well. The state has a 40 to 50 percent probability of experiencing above average precipitation this winter. For those wondering – combine precipitation chances with below-freezing temperatures and you have the making of winter storms. These outlooks are not meant to say that there is a higher chance specifically for winter storms, but the likelihood of a combination of precipitation and below freezing temperatures increases. Many factors still need to come together exactly right to support winter weather in Texas, so there’s no guarantee we’ll see more ice or snow. If you have one factor out of place, you may end up with just a cold rain, or no precipitation at all. Still, I’d be surprised if we didn’t have at least a few wintery weather events.
Keep in mind that it only takes one day with several inches of rain to make a month ‘above average’ even if no more rain falls. Likewise a few very cold days in a month does not mean every day will be cold. Some days will have above-average temperatures like Texas is known for. Our summers may be hot and humid but at least we have a few warm winter days, too!