Spring Has Sprung: Cold Weather and the Drought Come to an End
Despite warnings to the contrary, our Texas winter was about as wet as normal. Last week alone, we had almost five inches of rain in the Houston area -- more than our entire summer in 2011! With that dose of heavy rain came an end to our area's drought, something we said might happen in December. As you can see on the image above, the area right around Houston is in the lightest shade, meaning we're just abnormally dry, not suffering from drought.
That doesn't mean the rest of the state is free from the dry weather, however. The effects of a moderate La Niña are still being felt, particularly in west and south Texas, where drought conditions remain at record levels. But for Houston we seem to be mostly in the clear, with forecasts over the next couple months indicating our pattern of normal Houston springtime weather should continue.
One thing forecasters did get right, however, was the prediction of mild temperatures. Temperatures on the whole this winter were noticeably warmer than usual and we barely had a hard freeze. So, if you like mild weather, this winter was for you.
Looking forward, the outlook for rain in our area appears to be about normal. The map above may only show some improvement in our drought conditions, but it's a safe bet that this rainforest climate we have will persist through the spring.
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What happens this summer will hinge, as usual, on tropical moisture and it's not too soon to start talking about it. Hurricane season officially opens in June and long-range forecast models are already starting to trickle out. The team at Colorado State will release their first report in early April, but their initial forecasts for the conditions that provide a conducive atmosphere for the development of tropical storms indicate they expect another above-average year, though probably not as active as last year when we had 19 named storms.
For now, we should enjoy the daily highs in the 70s and low 80s. Before too long, we'll be back in the 90s and praying to any god who will listen to provide us with the sweet release of death.
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