Winter Outlook: El Nino a No-Show?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their November to January outlook on October 18, and the news is not especially good for Texoma.

There were strong indications of a developing El Nino a few months ago, and that promised enhanced chances for precipitation along with colder weather compared to last winter. The hopes for the El Nino have waned now, and it is expected to be a very weak variety if it shows up at all. This lowers the potential for a wet late fall through mid-winter period (discussion continues below maps).


El Nino is associated with warmer-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures and these tend to enhance southern jet-stream energy and moisture levels. This pattern often leads to above normal precipitation and below average temperatures for the southern U.S.

Colder (and wetter) weather is a necessary part of the weather cycle and we just didn’t get any last winter, partly due to a La Nina effect (opposite of the El Nino).

In fact, last winter’s persistent warmth led to drought, a very high insect count, rampant weeds, West Nile Virus outbreaks, and the most severe allergen season on record during the spring and summer of 2012.

The 90-day outlook maps above show essentially equal chances for dry, normal, or wet precipitation trends and neutral temperature indications as well.

So it remains to be seen whether we might “luck out” and receive abundant winter precipitation and some cold spells, but the boosting effects of an El Nino in these regards seem to be fading.


Take Care,

Steve LaNore

Chief Meteorologist




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