El Niño: What you can expect this winter across the South Plains

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:31 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - If you are tired of the record heat and lack of rain there is good news long-term.

We may be looking at a wetter winter. During an El Niño, winds over the southern Pacific weaken, causing a shift in weather patterns, not only in Texas, but across the globe, and it could mean change for this winter.

Mark Conder with the National Weather Service in Lubbock says, “It typically brings cooler and wetter conditions to Texas.”

Something most of us are looking forward to after 46 days of triple-digit temperatures this year. Conder says a winter cool-down really depends on the amount of precipitation we get between now and the start of winter.

“Some of our most extreme cold fronts and the bitterly cold arctic fronts that we get, we have had a couple of them over the last few years those were during El Nina conditions. Often during those years, the air is drier and that allows those temperatures to plummet,” Conder said.

We were in a strong El Niño when the 2015 blizzard hit. However, KCBD Chief Meteorologist John Robison says each El Niño or La Niña is different. He says while there is no guarantee of lots of snow, cloudy cold weather is on the way eventually.

“Maybe wetter, it doesn’t mean it going to be wetter all of this month or next month but as we get more into winter that means we will have some ice to deal with more often - our freezing rains, sleet,” Robison said.

But, like all weather conditions, especially here in Lubbock, nothing is set in stone, and with the record highs we have been seeing lately, those cooler days are still quite a ways away.

“You have got it influencing us most from December through about maybe February into March,” Robison said.

Both the weather service forecaster and John say it is important to note these are long-term trends. Although we could see more rain and snow over the next year, there are still many dry and warm days ahead.