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What to know about our upcoming winter

A winter storm brings snow to the Tulsa, Okla. area on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Snowfall totaling up to 5 inches is expected to fall throughout the Tulsa region. (John Clanton/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)
A winter storm brings snow to the Tulsa, Okla. area on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Snowfall totaling up to 5 inches is expected to fall throughout the Tulsa region. (John Clanton/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)

NOAA has released their winter outlook for the United States and the forecast hinges on La Niña, that cooler than normal Pacific water which tends to produce dry, warm weather for us. El Niño on the other hand brings in wetter, cooler winters. Here’s a look at the current sea surface temperature anomalies, and you can see that huge blue I’ve circled below:

La Nina is definitely in charge!
La Nina is definitely in charge!

And computer models indicate that this phenomenon will last right through the winter into spring:

The red line is the model consensus line and it's below the 0.0° line indicating La Nina
The red line is the model consensus line and it's below the 0.0° line indicating La Nina

The NOAA forecast puts Texas squarely in the warm, dry category with a 60-70% chance for our winter to be warmer than normal and drier than normal:

A Warm Winter
A Warm Winter
A Dry Winter
A Dry Winter

Watch out for drought

Yesterday, the current U.S. Drought Monitor was released and you can see much of the west is in drought (thus, the wildfires) while our part of Texas is well-hydrated:

Current Drought Areas in the Western U.S.
Current Drought Areas in the Western U.S.

However, with the continuing dryness into winter, developing drought for the eastern half of our state is forecast:

Developing Drought forecast for SE Texas
Developing Drought forecast for SE Texas

Enjoy our “winter” weekend, especially tonight! A true fall front finally arrived!

Frank

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