Bone-dry October in Austin related to what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean

Weather Blog

Cooler than normal ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean (blue) signify the La Niña pattern in place

We have made it through nearly half of the month of October with zero measurable rainfall at Camp Mabry, Austin’s official reporting station. The Austin airport has only received 0.15″ of rain this month.

This is unusual since October is typically our third-wettest month of the year behind May and June, bringing 3.88″ of rain to downtown Austin.

As it turns out, the unusually dry weather so far this October has something to do with ocean temperatures in the Eastern Pacific, thousands of miles away.

Ocean temperature departure from normal in the Pacific (degrees C)

Ocean temperatures near the Equator in the Eastern Pacific are quickly cooling, now running 1-2 degrees Celsius cooler than normal, signifying the La Niña pattern now declared. This has the effect of suppressing hurricane activity in that basin, which is part of the reason Texas has been dry.

La Niña’s effect on hurricanes

Typically, October heavy rain and flash flood events in Texas involve copious moisture from a decaying Pacific hurricane. Since the La Niña pattern is suppressing tropical storm and hurricane formation in that area, Texas is seeing fewer opportunities for tropical moisture intrusion.

An example of a decaying Pacific hurricane leading to Texas flooding in October (Oct. 1998)

See our dry 7-day forecast here.

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