Crystal ball for winter?

What will winter be like? photo courtesy

In today’s cover photo, that’s actually a frozen bubble, not a crystal ball, but that hasn’t stopped the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) from issuing a December to February Winter forecast. They hail their new supercomputers as able to give better and better long-range prognostications (more on those computers from a great article here).

La Nina, as I discussed in a blog last week, usually means warmer and drier for us, while the coldest air gets locked up to the north. The Polar Vortex can weaken enough to allow cold air to spill into the U.S., but the jet stream tends to shunt it east. As we know from February 2021, that doesn’t always work out, so a cold snap or two is always possible. Below is the typical winter, but it’s written in snow, not stone!

courtesy NOAA

This is the third season in a row to have La Nina out there, but the first season with the new supercomputers, so hopefully this is some guidance we can rely on. Herewith, those computers expect a warmer and drier-than-normal winter for us:

courtesy NOAA
courtesy NOAA

This is about as typical as it gets, but what is concerning is an expanding drought. We’ve just gotten to the point where we made some progress across the state, but that might not last. Here is today’s drought monitor for Texas:

Exceptional and extreme drought may worsen this winter

NOAA expects the drought to expand this winter:

courtesy NOAA

In the meantime, a fast-moving front overnight will bring a bit of rain to help and then a nice cooldown to lows in the 50s and highs in the 70s! Enjoy and.....Go Astros!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

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