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Ask 2: Does the forecast look good to start planting in Houston?

Neither El Nino or La Nina takes hold for Spring

Plants
Plants (WJXT)

HOUSTONAt KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

A friend of Frank Billingsley stood first in line Saturday morning at the Urban Harvest fruit tree sale, the biggest in the nation, and watched the line behind him grow like a weed:

A Sale is a Sale!
A Sale is a Sale!

So, of course, his question for Frank was about a freeze next week. Here’s what Frank says:

I can tell you upfront that I got nothing cold for the rest of February. Say goodbye to the winter that wasn’t. In fact, the Jet Stream ramps up out of the southwest this week which is sure to continue above freezing temps:

Southwest Jet = Warm
Southwest Jet = Warm

Looking farther down the road to March-April-May, the latest El Nino/LaNina forecast is for neutral conditions, or as I like to call it: La Nada. No big Pacific warm-up and no big cool down. Here’s the model forecast and the red line is just above 0 degrees, meaning not too hot and not too cold:

Through Spring, the red line is just above 0.0
Through Spring, the red line is just above 0.0

So just what are the probabilities of a neutral condition in the Pacific through November? Follow the gray line which indicates right around 50% or better. In fact, MAM (March-April-May) is 60%.

Gray Line = Neutral Conditions
Gray Line = Neutral Conditions

The bottom line is this: a strong El Nino brings warm and wet conditions to Texas while a strong La Nina brings colder and drier conditions. Without either one strongly in play, we’ll continue to get what we’ve been seeing: warmer mixed with occasional cool spells and fairly normal precipitation. Hopefully, nothing gets too crazy because I told my friend he was good to plant! And he did:

Voila!
Voila!

Enjoy the week ahead and if a cold spell sneaks up on us, I’ll be the first to let you know!

Frank

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