The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released their winter outlook for the United States. The winter outlook includes December, January, and February. These outlooks are essentially a long-range forecast. El Nino/La Nina, the Arctic Oscillation, and many other complex factors go into making a seasonal forecast. A strong El Nino is in place and will continue to strengthen into the winter months. Historically these El Nino events result in above average precipitation and below average temperatures in Texas. Effects from El Nino are most felt during the late fall and winter months. While sometimes we can get a wet/cool fall that obviously has not happened as of yet. I suspect we’ll switch over to more seasonable weather before too much longer. This outlook does not indicate snow chances for Texas. It takes many factors coming together to support winter weather in our state. Past El Nino events have had a tendency to support significant winter weather events but that does not mean we’ll see more frequent winter weather events.
Here is the full NOAA winter outlook text released this morning along with their graphical outlooks.
STRONG EL NINO CONDITIONS REMAIN IN PLACE ACROSS THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC OCEAN
AS REPRESENTED BY BOTH OCEAN AND ATMOSPHERIC DATA. THE ONGOING EL NINO EVENT IS
EXPECTED TO PEAK IN STRENGTH IN LATE AUTUMN OR EARLY WINTER WITH SEASONAL
AVERAGE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE (SST) ANOMALIES IN THE NINO 3.4 REGION NEAR OR
EXCEEDING +2.0 DEGREES CELSIUS, DIMINISHING IN MAGNITUDE THROUGH THE LATE
WINTER AND SPRING.
THE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER-JANUARY (NDJ) 2015 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED
PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE FAR WEST, ACROSS THE
NORTHERN CONTIGUOUS U.S. TO THE NORTHEAST, AND SOUTHWARD TO THE MID-ATLANTIC.
WITHIN THE CONTIGUOUS U.S., THE CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE
GREATEST ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST AND ALONG THE NORTHERN TIER FROM THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST TO THE GREAT LAKES WITH PROBABILITIES EXCEEDING 50 PERCENT.
BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FROM NEW MEXICO TO LOUISIANA WHILE
ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE ALSO MOST LIKELY FOR ALASKA.
THE NDJ 2015 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF
ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS FOR CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, THE
SOUTHWEST, PARTS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS, THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI
VALLEY, THE SOUTHEAST NORTHWARD TO THE MID-ATLANTIC. ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION
AMOUNTS ARE ALSO MOST LIKELY FOR THE SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN COASTS OF ALASKA.
BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE MOST LIKELY FOR PARTS OF THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST, NORTHERN ROCKIES AND GREAT LAKES.
IN AREAS WHERE THE LIKELIHOODS OF SEASONAL MEAN TEMPERATURES AND SEASONAL
ACCUMULATED PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE SIMILAR TO CLIMATOLOGICAL PROBABILITIES,
EQUAL CHANCES (EC) IS INDICATED.