El Nino weather patterns may bring a wet winter

From AgriLife Today

COLLEGE STATION – Texas is emerging from one of the hottest, driest summers on record, but the long-term forecast suggests winter and spring will be wet, according to the state climatologist.

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon in College Station said statewide temperatures from May through August were the third hottest on record.

This summer was also drier, with precipitation levels more than 2.5 inches below average for the state, ranking this year as the 29th driest on record.

But that could change soon, Nielsen-Gammon said.

Nielsen-Gammon said long-term forecasts call for El Niño weather patterns through winter and spring. El Niño weather patterns typically mean above-average rainfall, especially for southern parts of Texas.

“September is already off to a good start,” he said. “It’s not good for cotton producers, but much of the state has received moisture in the last few weeks.”

Nielsen-Gammon said 5 to 15 inches of rain had fallen between Del Rio and San Antonio in the past week and that much of Central Texas picked up two inches or more during that same time with forecasts calling for more precipitation to follow.

“It looks like wet tropical patterns will contribute more moisture,” he said. “It also looks like things may be drying out a little following the rains, but Texas can expect more consistent rain into the fall, winter and spring as the El Niño patterns strengthen.”

Whether warmer or colder temperatures will accompany the El Niño pattern is a toss-up, Nielsen-Gammon said.

While cooler temperatures typically accompany precipitation, factors associated with climate change will mitigate the overall effect of those weather events.

“At this point, it looks like equal chances of having above- and below-average temperatures,” he said.

State Climatologist: Texas facing long, hot summer

From AgriLife Today

COLLEGE STATION (July 3, 2018)  – Dry conditions continue to persist in much of the state as this summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record, according to Texas State Climatologist, Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon. He said parts of the state received rains that improved moisture levels while other areas continued to experience dry, hot weather. 

Dry conditions are forcing cattle producers in some areas to provide supplemental feed earlier and more frequently than normal. Some areas of the state received significant rains, but most of the state lingers in drought are are nearing drought conditions rapidly. 

Northern counties of the Panhandle and the southern parts of the state along the lower Rio Grande and Coastal Bend improved significantly after heavy rains, he said. Some areas in southern Texas experienced flooding.

But as those areas received rains, Nielsen-Gammon said large swaths of the state, including Northeast, Central and West Central Texas continued to dry out. Parts of Northeast Texas and along the Interstate 35 corridor have received less than 50 percent of their normal rainfall over the last two months.

In the short-term, Nielsen-Gammon said the southern half of the state could receive rain from tropical moisture later this week. But the following weeks look dry for most of the state.

July is typically the driest month for most of the state, he said.

“There may be a decent chance of rain for extreme North and West Texas in the coming weeks,” he said. “That could bring some relief from dry conditions, but as things look right now, much of the state will continue to be dry.”

Meanwhile, temperatures were 3-4 degrees warmer than average over the last month, Nielsen-Gammon said. Temperatures in parts of West Texas have averaged 6-8 degrees warmer than normal since the beginning of May.

“Every station in Texas reported above-normal temperatures, which would make it one of the 10 warmest Junes on record,” he said. “We’re not on pace to equal 2011, but it’s setting up to be a relatively hot summer.”

Nielsen-Gammon said 2011 continues to be the most extreme outlier when it comes to drought. That year, temperatures were more than 5 degrees above normal, or twice the previous record for above-average temperatures.

“If conditions continue as they have been, 2018 could be the second hottest summer on record,” he said. “We could pull that off.”

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