A La Niña winter is now 75% likely — what that means in Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The mid-October ENSO (El Nino – Southern Oscillation) update from Climate Prediction Center and on Columbia Climate School points to an even higher probability of a third La Niña winter in a row, increasing the odds over previous forecasts.

A month ago, the chances of La Niña continuing through the winter (December-February) were 65%, but the latest forecast has jumped to 75%.

What does La Niña mean for Central Texas?

La Niña is a climate pattern resulting from lower than normal temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that can have worldwide impacts.

As mentioned in the past, a winter La Niña typically brings a warmer than normal and drier than normal period for Central Texas.

A typical La Nina winter in North America
A typical La Niña winter in North America (NOAA/CPC)

When will La Nina end?

La Niña is favored to end in February-April and a neutral ENSO pattern is still favored to take over, but the chances of La Niña continuing through at least part of the spring season have increased.

October 2022 ENSO Outlook (CPC)
October 2022 ENSO Outlook (CPC)

The CPC ENSO forecast is divided into overlapping three-month periods:

  • The chances of La Niña continuing in January-March now they are up to ~58% (compared to ~53% a month ago).
  • The odds of La Niña February-April they are now up to about 44% (vs. ~38% a month ago).
  • The chances of a La Niña spring, March-May they are now up to 26% (vs. ~22% a month ago).

NOAA is expected to release its outlook for the winter of 2022-2023 next week. We’ll bring you expectations as soon as they’re announced.

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