Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their 2020 winter forecast on Thursday.
The forecast calls for warmer, drier conditions across the southern United States, and cooler, wetter conditions across the northern part of the country. This is due in large part from the ongoing La Niña.
NOAA forecasters believe that this La Niña will be a stronger one. Long range weather forecast models show the La Niña lasting through the winter, before diminishing next Spring. La Niña is characterized by below-normal sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator — a result of shifting wind patterns in the atmosphere.
Above normal temperatures are expected across all of the southern United States, with the warmest conditions across southern New Mexico and much of western Texas. The winter outlook gives the Rio Grande Valley a 70% chance of above normal temperatures.
In addition to above normal temperatures, below normal precipitation is expected across all of the southern United States, with the driest conditions in the southeastern New Mexico and southwestern Texas. The winter outlook gives the Rio Grande Valley a 50% chance of below normal precipitation.
Widespread, ongoing drought is currently in place across the western half of the United States as a result weak Southwest summer monsoon and near-record-high temperatures. With the combination of drier and warmer conditions, drought is expected to expand and intensify across the southern and central plains, eastern Gulf Coast states, and California. This includes the Rio Grande Valley.
While these outlooks do show the winter trends, it does not mean we will not see periods from time to time of cooler or wetter times between December and February. It does mean the general weather patterns will be working against it.