Thursday, September 22, 2011

Drought Could Persist Through The Winter

The weather phenomena known as "La Nina" has been responsible for our worst drought in Texas history as well as the hottest summer on record.

La Nina is associated with cooler than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that alter the weather patterns around the world.

The image shows the cooler than normal sea surface temperatures by the shading of blue.

These below average water temperatures bare bad news for Texas, as it means warmer and drier conditions than normal.

What made the 2010-2011 La Nina worse was the fact we had a "strong" La Nina. That meant that not only were we in a drought, but we had an "exceptional" drought. That ended up leading to 63 days of 100° temperatures as the dry and parched soils lead to unsusually hot weather.

What happens during a La Nina phase is the Jet stream configures itself in a way that keeps Gulf of Mexico and Pacific moisture out of the state. Therefore, when fronts blow through East Texas, we see very little rain and low humidity.

Prognostications Not Good

According to NOAA and Texas state climatologist Dr. Nielsen Gammon, La Nina is expected to continue through the fall season and very well could last through the winter months as well.

The big question is whether or not La Nina will weaken to a moderate or slight phase or remain the same. Regardless of the phase, this news does not bode well for East Texans or anyone else in the state for that matter.

The impacts could be even more devastating if we continue to see below normal rainfall and very little moisture over the next 3 to 6 months.

You can click here to read the full article on what our state climatologist, Dr. John Nielsen Gammon has to say about the climate outlook as we move forward this year.