by Evelyn Browning-Garriss, climatologist and author of The Browning Newsletter
Jan. 12, 2015
Want to see a pretty picture? Here it is, the monthly precipitation anomalies for the U.S. and it shows that almost all of Texas and large portions of the Southwest have above average winter rainfall. Indeed, 59 percet of Texas is no longer in official drought conditions and 38 percent of the state is no longer even listed as dry!
Want to see a scary map? Unfortunately, the precipitation came with cold temperatures. Most of Texas and the Southwest have averaged temperatures 5° ̶ 15°F below normal. (Shiver!)
Here’s what is happening: the Pacific is creating weak El Niño patterns. No, this is not an official El Niño event; that has to have warm water lingering over a specific part of the ocean for roughly 6 to 7 months or more. Scientists say there is only a 50 to 60 percent chance of that happening. It is not even officially El Niño conditions. That would require the special measuring area in the Tropical Pacific to be warm for almost 3 months. The experts have only declared an El Niño warning. That means the special measured area is warm right now, and they think the warmth may last.
What that means is that the Pacific is currently warm in exactly the right area to steer tropical rainfall patterns (and cold fronts) to the Southwest for a while. Scientists think there is only a 50 – 60% chance that this pattern will last through spring, but most international agencies expect it to last at least until March.
So bundle up warm and enjoy the rain. -EBG
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