What to know about February

The Full Moon seen behind the Freedom Tower courtesy Getty images
The Full Moon seen behind the Freedom Tower courtesy Getty images

Can you believe we’re about to leave January? We’ve had some jacket mornings and afternoons, and our month leaves with a warm Saturday and cooler Sunday. This month has had an official LOW temperature at Bush Airport of 31F on the 12th and our high reached 78F on the 25th (although Hobby made it to 81 that same day!). Rain has only filled the buckets to 2-2.5″, so a bit below normal and tomorrow won’t bring more than a smidge. Of course, if the fog counted that would be a different story!

One of my viewers, Lourdes, wrote me this last Tuesday:

Frank, What happened to your prediction of La Nina ruling this winter? You said it would be a dry, warm winter.

That prediction still holds, Lourdes!

As we look ahead, the Groundhog in Pennsylvania is NOT going to see his shadow; Punxsutawney will have a cloudy, snowy Tuesday. That means an early spring and, honestly, we’re already seeing robins and peach blossoms! NOAA has issued their February outlook and they are calling for a huge part of the country to be warmer than normal:

NOAA February outlook is warmer than normal

Precipitation is forecast to be sparse for us:

NOAA has us dry while wet weather is found north

Our normal February high and low averages 66 and 46, so you can see that would be easy to beat these days. Remember, warmer than normal is the forecast, so it’s relative.

Average rainfall marks in at just over three inches, so we may find that hard to come by! The recent drought monitor indicates we are in good shape around here, but much of Texas and the southwest is in desperate need of rain:

Texas is only 45% dry or in drought, but not here in southeast Texas

You can Blame La Nina

That phenomenon known as La Nina, or cooler than normal water in the Pacific, continues for about eight more months and you can see below that the waters are plenty cool:

Cooler than normal water in the Pacific courtesy of Tropical Tidbits

Cooler water simply means there is less warm water! It’s the warm water that heats the air above it. That hot air rises, condenses and forms clouds which produce rain. So La Nina doesn’t produce as much rain, so it’s drier.

And when it’s drier, you’ll have fewer clouds and more sun, thus warmer temperatures. So this, in a nutshell, is where the warmer, drier February forecast is coming from!

We both know that it’s usually a roller coaster around here and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a cold snap or two. So don’t put the warm woolies away just yet, Lourdes!

Frank

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About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, social media news and local crime.