Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2015 Vol. 62 No. 1

Texas Winter 2014-2015

By: Meteorologist Aaron Treadway
National Weather Service, New Braunfels, TX

What is the Outlook for winter?
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued their winter 2014/2015 outlook. This outlook for the months of December, January, and February is just one of the outlooks that the CPC issues for various time periods. These outlooks are pictured below.


As you can see the CPC is predicting a 40% chance that the winter months will be both wetter and cooler across much of the state of Texas. As we near the end of 2014 many areas in Central and North Texas are still 4 to 12 inches below normal in terms of rainfall, with parts of North Texas still experiencing Extreme to Exceptional Drought.  Part of the reason for cooler and wetter winter forecast is the predicted onset of a weak El Nino (see a previous article on the impacts of El Niño on Texas). Although we currently remain in an ENSO Neutral state, the CPC still maintains a 65% chance of a weak El Niño developing through the rest of 2014 and into the early months of 2015.

How do November and December of 2014 compare to the same time last year?
What a difference a year makes! If you remember how cold last year was, you’re not alone.  Starting in November of 2013, it seemed as if every week there was some sort of arctic outbreak with cold air and chances of frozen precipitation. Several arctic air masses pushed south out of Canada and plunged all the way to the Gulf Coast. These cold air outbreaks brought freezing rain as far south as the Austin area and produced  1-2 Inches of ice and sleet across the DFW Metro Area.

So what about this year?  After an early cold air outbreak in the middle of November this year, most of Texas has enjoyed very mild temperatures the past several weeks. Over the first two weeks of December we have seen near to above normal high and low temperatures. This is due to the majority of the weather systems impacting Texas originating over the Pacific and western United States rather than Canada. Below is a table of average high and low temperatures through the first 16 days of December comparing 2013 and 2014. You can see that the average highs and lows are all 10 to 15 degrees warmer in 2014 compared to 2013.

Although we are a few weeks into meteorological winter, astronomical winter does not begin until Sunday, December 21st. We still have the rest of December through January and February ahead of us.

Average Temperature chart

2013 December* Average  Highs

2013 December* Average  Lows

2014 December* Average  Highs

2014 December* Average  Lows

Austin Mabry

58.4

38.2

66.6

51.6

Amarillo

47.9

20.3

57.6

32.6

Dallas

51.1

31.9

61.8

46.1

Houston

59.5

41.7

70.1

52.1

*Averages only pertain to December 1st – December 16th


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