CENTRAL TEXAS — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a warmer and dryer than normal winter for Central Texas. This is due to a climatological pattern in the Eastern Pacific Ocean known as La Niña.
La Niña is the result of cooler than normal surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific. The effect it has on the U.S. is a shift in the pathway for winter storms, which mostly lie across the northern half of the country.
For Texas, winter in its entirety should be warmer and dryer than normal. At least two-thirds of the top ten driest and warmest winters in Central Texas occurred during neutral (slightly cooler than normal) and La Niña periods.
However, our winters can bring many surprises. Shots of cold air and wintry weather are all still possible this winter given the overall warmer pattern.
The winters of 1996 and 1984 recorded 50 freezes in both seasons. 2010 and 2011 encountered multiple snow and ice events that impacted the area. All were considered La Niña winters, according to NOAA.
Even though 2011 recorded two wintry weather events, it was considered a dry winter. That was also the winter before a scorching summer that set the record number of 100 degree days, which is 90 days.
Could we be in store for the same pattern going into 2021? Historically, it's not impossible, but more likely.
The First Alert 25 Weather Team will keep you updated with new climate outlooks as we go into next year.