(NEXSTAR) – Texans know better than to expect a white Christmas, but this winter is set to be anything but. An update to the Climate Prediction Center’s official winter forecast shows a hot and dry season ahead for the Lone Star State.
The 90-day-outlook was published Thursday morning by the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service. It gives people a rough idea of what December, January and February will look like across the country.
The outlook shows the effects of La Niña still clearly visible. A La Niña climate pattern tends to divide the country in half, bringing a dry winter to the southern half and a wetter winter to the northern half.
You can see that pattern in the forecast map released Thursday (below): While the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Northeast are forecast to see above-average precipitation, the southern half of the country – including Texas – is looking dry.
Southwestern Texas, along the state’s border with Mexico, is the area most likely to see below-average precipitation this winter.
NOAA’s temperature outlook doesn’t look any bit more wintery for Texas. The vast majority of the state is highlighted in shades of orange, indicating a likelihood for warmer-than-average weather from December through February.
About two-thirds of Texas is currently in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A warm and dry winter, as NOAA is predicting, would only aggravate those conditions.
La Niña is favored to stick around all winter, with NOAA forecasters giving it a 76% chance of lasting through February. What happens in spring is less clear; meteorologists say there’s about a 50-50 chance we shift into an ENSO-neutral pattern, which means we’re neither seeing La Niña nor El Niño.