NWS says South Plains could have intense winter - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/22/09

NWS says South Plains could have intense winter

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The South Plains saw a chilly start to the first day of fall, and if you're wondering if it's a sign of things to come this winter, you could be right. The National Weather Service says waters have been warming in the Pacific, and that we could be in the beginnings of an El Nino episode.

Meteorologists say we'd have to have several more months of warming to see that, but we could have an interesting winter. "It's good news that we're looking at an El Nino. Everything else being equal, that gives us a much better chance to see a lot of snow or rain, but again it's too early. Some of the computer models are predicting that it's going to be right on that boundary between a moderate and a strong. If we do end up with a strong, my money goes on more snow and rain than normal," NWS Warning Coordinator Meteorologist Jody James said.

James says many areas on the South Plains could really use the added moisture. "We've had some areas in the southern Panhandle, South Plains that have seen quite a bit of rainfall this year, but in some areas around Lubbock, that's not the case, so wet weather would be great in liquid form or snow form, that good news for us," James said.

In extreme El Nino winters, Lubbock's average snowfall has been more than two-feet. The development of El Nino sometimes also links with cooler than normal conditions, but right now predictions for the South Plains are just slightly greater than average for above average temperatures.

The NWS says we should know more in about one or two months, so we'll keep you updated.

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