According to the National Weather Service (NWS) neutral conditions are expected across much of Texas this winter. This is because neither El Nino nor El Nina is in place. The NWS will base their predictions on long-term trends. Much of their predictions will be based on Arctic Oscillation (AO). According to the NWS, “AO influences the number of arctic air masses that intrude into the U.S but its predictability is limited to a couple of weeks.”

According to Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Without either El Nino or La Nina conditions, short-term climate patterns like the Arctic Oscillation will drive winter weather and could result in large swings in temperature and precipitation.” Drier-than-average conditions are predicted for Louisiana, parts of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma. According to the 2020 outlook, the Four Corners region of the Southwest, west and central Texas and parts of the Southeast are experiencing abnormally dry conditions. This is expected to continue in Texas and spread to other states.

Looking at the long-range predictions, the weather looks to be mild across the region for the winter. According to the NWS predictions, there is a 37% chance of above normal temperatures, 30% chance of below normal temperatures and 33% chance of normal temperatures. Since December 1st, the highest temperature recorded in Ballinger is 89 degrees, which was recorded on December 15th. The lowest temperature recorded this month was 20 degrees on December 19th.

The wind has been a constant factor this month with at least 10 mph winds recorded every day thus far. December 13th saw winds of 25 mph with gusts to 33 mph. The wind has averaged 18 mph this month. The average high temperature has been 69 degrees and the average low temperature has been 34 degrees. Temperature fluctuations have been milder than usual for this time of year.

The NWS has a new predictor on it’s website that is still in the experimental stages. The information shows predictions for a 72-hour period. It showed that there is a 10% chance of higher than average snowfall with a 90% chance of below average snowfall prior to December 31st. You can view the information and leave feedback on the website at www.weather.gov/sjt/winter.

NOAA’s 3-month predictions are updated every month.