Growing concern for warmer winter, worsening drought ahead

Weather Blog

New outlooks issued by the Climate Prediction Center show the continuation of a warmer and drier than normal forecast across much of Texas and the southern U.S.

With the onset of La Niña conditions this fall and the high likelihood (95%) of such conditions continuing into winter and spring, the predictions are far from surprising. Cooler equatorial waters in the Pacific, more often than not, lead to warmer and drier weather across Texas and surrounding states.

Climate change is also accelerating the rate of warming. Locally and statewide, winters are warming faster than any other season. Although the idea of a warmer winter sounds appealing, it comes with downsides—including a longer mosquito season, prolonged allergy season, shifts in growing season, etc.

Despite the fact that we finished September with a +7″ precipitation surplus over our year-to-date average, we’ve completely erased our lead with the lack of rain observed this October and November. Our analysis shows Camp Mabry has only received 5% of normal rainfall over the last 57 days, with just 0.35″ of rain in the bucket compared to a normal rainfall during that period of 6.52″. This recent shut-off in precipitation has resulted in the onset of a flash drought across Central Texas, with the newest data showing drought conditions being reported in all counties in the KXAN viewing area.

Below are the outlooks for the upcoming month, three months (season) and year (2021) issued by the Climate Prediction Center:

1-month outlooks: December

New monthly outlooks show a high probability of warmer than normal temperatures in the month of December and drier than normal precipitation.

One-month temp outlook – December | Courtesy: CPC
One-month precip outlook – December | Courtesy: CPC

3-month outlooks: December, January, February

The new three-month outlooks outlining probabilities for December, January and February show a higher probability of warmer than normal temperatures and drier than normal precipitation.

Three-month temp outlook – DEC-JAN-FEB | Courtesy: CPC
Three-month precip outlook – DEC-JAN-FEB | Courtesy: CPC

Year outlooks: 2021

The three-month outlooks extending through 2021 show a greater likelihood of warmer than normal temperatures throughout Texas and all states in the southern tier of the U.S.

Statewide, drier than normal conditions look favorable through spring 2021 before equal chances are present. As defined by the CPC, equal chances are forecast when probabilities are predicted to be similar to climatological probabilities.

For more information, visit the Climate Prediction Center’s website.

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