A strong El Nino tends to bring lots of rain to Central Texas, and meteorologists say the latest El Nino is continuing to grow stronger.
“The forecaster consensus remains nearly unchanged, with the expectation that this El Niño could rank among the top three strongest episodes as measured by the 3-month SST departures in the Niño 3.4 region going back to 1950.”
Via KXAN Weather blog
Why does it matter? If she arrives early, say mid- to late-summer, we could have another dry scorcher. Then, as she strengthens in the fall into the winter, a warmer and drier winter. Or not.
The LCRA’s Bob Rose is on board for her early arrival, along with NOAA and Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi. But Anthony Watts at WUWT has a neat nay-saying article we might cross our fingers on. Because, among other things, La Nina would bring a stronger hurricane season. Which, this year, could mean pushing much more of that Gulf crude oil much farther ashore into Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Maybe even turn it the other way and push some of it into Texas.
Well, a reasonable chance for some tomorrow night, anyhow, which will feel good after today’s hundred degree heat (it’s 100 in the city at the moment). But the real chances, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center begin in October and last through April of next year. Thanks to the anticipated return of El Nino, they’re forecasting precip to be above normal for that period. After two years of dry, that would be sweet.
Via KVUE’s Mark Murray.
Another very cold morning at the Rancho. Winter should be almost over for us by now, but we aquired some more arctic air overnight which looks to be hanging around right on through the weekend, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s chief meteorologist Bob Rose. And, thanks to the subtropical jet being away without leave, it’s dry, dry, dry.
"This feature (the jet), which helped pull rain and storms from the eastern Pacific to Texas in January, has diminished over the past couple of weeks. It may be associated with the rapid weakening of El Nino…or it could just be a part of the transition from winter into spring. In any event, weather conditions have turned dry across Central Texas and it looks like it will be at least another week before a chance for rain returns to the forecast."
Rest at Bob’s new blog here.
That’s the apparent forecast, according to KVUE chief meteorologist Mark Murray, and the latest data on the El Nino Southern Oscillation, which is oscillating in an unfortunate (for us) direction:
"These trends in surface and subsurface ocean temperatures indicate that the warm episode (El Niño) is weakening. It is still possible for some areas to experience El Niño-related effects during the next month, primarily in the region of the central tropical Pacific."
One supposes that the normal (i.e. non-El Nino) Central Texas spring could still bring us abundant rainfall by the end of May-June, but Mark didn’t seem too optimistic about it when we spoke last night. Lake Travis remains really low, and its manager, the Lower Colorado River Authority, recently took the unprecedented step of denying what remains of its water to Texas rice farmers down on the coast.
Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose says the jetstream is turning south and we may finally begin to get some of the rain the El Nino oscillation has been promising since Turkey Day.
"The latest forecast solutions call for a storm system to move across northwestern Texas (today) and Friday, followed by another storm system about next Wednesday and Thursday.
"Yet another storm system is forecast to move across Texas around January 7th and 8th. Each of these storms systems is expected to bring at least some rain to our region, but due to their progressive nature, none appear to be excessively wet."
Meteorologist Bob Rose of the Lower Colorado River Authority offers some thoughts on the dry spell.
"Weather conditions have been unusually dry this month, with most areas so far reporting little to no rain. The outlook for rain the next few days looks bleak and it’s possible we may end the month with no additional rain. So far this month, Austin Mabry has reported 0.04 inches [the 10th driest on record], [and] Austin-Bergstrom 0.05 inches…the 3rd driest on record…"
"Most climate experts are puzzled as to why the pattern across Texas and the southern US has recently turned so dry and why the expected wet signal from El Nino has failed to develop. [They] do expect a change in the overall pattern beginning in December, with most calling for a trend toward increased precipitation. The current situation does point out that most El Nino’s are different from each other, with each one producing different results across Texas."
Bob says other El Nino winters have started dry and ended with plenty of rain–notably 1987-88, 1991-92, and 1997-98. So flash floods could be just around the corner.