It came in strong and it came in fierce. North winds Saturday gusting to 30 mph during the day brought in a nearly 40-degree drop in temperature overnight. Those hoping for a cool-down got it; we had been sitting mainly in the 80s for the last week, despite the calendar pushing close to Thanksgiving.
So now the question remains: will it STAY chilly?
While there are certainly going to be ups and downs in the forecast, larger players like the upper level wind or jet stream are responsible for determining just what kind of winter it will be.
Luckily, the NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has released it's outlook for the next few months.
Let's start with the temperatures. There is a good chance that this could be a La Nina year. If that's the case, expect a fairly warm and dry winter for much of the South, especially Texas. La Nina is an oceanic-atmospheric pattern in the Pacific that pushes cooler water toward South America. El Nino, as you might guess, is the warmer variant. Both affect our weather here in the United States as they shift back and forth, oftentimes multiple times during the year.
In a La Nina year, the cooler waters help push cooler air downward into the Rockies and Pacific NW. This will keep those areas in a cooler and wet pattern, while the jet stays to the North of us here in Texas. That helps keep temperatures warmer than average.
As far as precipitation is concerned, the creation of high pressure, or sinking air North of us helps to significantly prevent rain from forming. Thus, this keeps us dry as well.
While this La Nina year may be short-lived, it's influence still will be felt. And no- you shouldn't plan on shorts and t-shirts all winter, but expect many more sunny days, above-average temperatures and little rainfall.
Of course, the entire KVUE weather team will continue to monitor all the changes as we head into the heart of the season.