La Nina dominates Winter '11-'12 Outlook


The outlook for the winter of 2011-2012 does not bear good news for folks on either side of the Red River.
A strengthening La Nina pattern is becoming more likely, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The map above shows what a typical La Nina brings to the country:
  • More than snow than average to the Great Lakes
  • More rain than average to the Pacific Northwest, and heavy snow to the mountains of Washington, Oregon and Idaho
  • Very dry weather for the southwestern U.S.
  • Warmer and drier than average weather for the southern Plains which includes Texoma
NOAA does offer an asterisk this year: A recurring pattern known as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) could send a few very cold shots to locations from the Rockies eastward (which includes us), and these sometimes bring snow as well.  Each "cycle" of the AO can only be identified about 7 to 10 days in advance.
However, day-to-day conditions will likely be drier and warmer than those of a typical Texoma winter.
Of course this forecast is very bad news for a region that’s had its worst drought on record during the past 12 months.
So what does this mean for the landscape?
  1. Lake levels and river flows will remain well below average
  2. Soils will continue dry with high fire danger persisting
  3. Snow events are less likely than average this winter (but still possible)
  4. Warm winters are often associated with more wind than usual
Take Care,
Steve LaNore
Chief Meteorologist
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