Long-term weather forecast points to Central Texas winter dry spell

Although rainfall was widespread throughout Central Texas mid-April, residents may see a wet spring and drier weather conditions in the coming months, said Bob Rose, chief meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority, during presentations on April 13 and April 17.



Rainfall


“El Nino is starting to go away,” he said. “El Nino refers to the [pocket of] unusually warm water off the coast of South America and toward Indonesia.”


In January, El Nino was very strong, but Rose said the Pacific Ocean will begin to trend cooler during the next few months, giving way to a La Nina weather pattern this fall.


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, during El Nino, the southern portion of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest tend to be warmer than average, and the Southern states—from California to North Carolina—tend to be cooler and wetter than average. During La Nina, these weather conditions are approximately reversed.


“May is calling for this wet pattern to continue,” Rose said. “June is actually looking pretty good as well. But as we get to July, we will be trending drier than normal. Same thing in August.”


He said September weather predictions show more rainfall and more or less near-normal rainfall averages.


“October and definitely November are trending drier than normal,” Rose said. “That’s when the influence of La Nina is expected to kick in.”



Temperatures


Warmer-than-normal temperatures will hold off through May, with near-normal temperatures forecast for the month and maybe a little above-normal for June, Rose said. However, residents can expect above-normal temperatures for July and August, he said.


“October and November are really supposed to be above-normal in temperatures,” Rose said. “That is a by-product of the La Nina itself.”


He said the rest of the country will be hot from “coast to coast,” and below-normal rainfall is expected in Texas from late fall through spring. The early outlook for winter temperatures shows mild conditions, he said.


“We better enjoy these wet times that we have this year because right now it’s looking like we are definitely going into our drier period next fall, next winter,” Rose said.



Lake Travis


Lake Travis is full at 681 feet mean sea level, Rose said.


“If the weather stays wet—which we think it will—at least for the next couple of months, the level of the lake isn’t going to change all that much,” he said. “We may come down into the 670s a little bit, and we may lose about 3 or 4 feet by the time we get to September.”


Rose said “bone-dry” weather, a repeat of 2011, is not expected in the area.

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