Larry’s 2011-2012 Winter Weather Forecast

By Chief Meteorologist Larry Mowry
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After such a hot summer, so many people ask me.. “Larry, what will this winter be like?”

Well I spent the past month pouring over historical data and looking at current global weather patterns to come up with a prediction.

                We all remember super bowl week… North Texas’s time to shine, was anything but sunny.  Football fans fought, snow, icy roads and freezing temperatures.  This is probably how many of us remember last winter.

But outside of those two weeks in February, last winter actually was warmer than average.  And also outside February’s snow storms, precipitation was also way down.  We had only 4.57” of precipitation— 67% less than normal.

Last winter’s weather was heavily influenced by La Nina.  La Nina is a cooling of the water in the Central Pacific Ocean.  This phenomena usually leads to dry, warm weather in Texas.

Two winter’s ago, it was El Nino.  El Nino is a warming of the Central Pacific Ocean.  El Nino winters are usually wet here in Texas.

And El Nino certainly lived up to its reputation two years ago.   With 17” of snow, the second most ever and the 8th coldest winter on record.

So what can we expect this winter?  La Nina!  After waning this summer, it’s coming back.

La Nina winters are warmer than average, with an average temperature of 48.3 degrees.  This is nearly two degrees warmer than other winters. 

La Nina winters are also drier, averaging just over 5” of precipitation.  La Nina winters have less snow… on average 1.8”. 

But hang on… there’s something else to consider… and that’s the drought.

The moisture content of the soil is very low.  Drier ground can cool off faster than wet soil.  So colder nights could offset any above average warmth that’s common in a La Nina winter.

So with all that being said, here is my projection.

NOVEMBER will be warmer..about 2 to 3 degrees above average temperatures.  And drier.

DECEMBER will be warmer than average but not as dramatic as November.  I expect temperatures to average 1 to 2 degrees above average.  It will also be drier than average.

JANUARY will be a tricky month.  I do expect a few cold outbreaks to either arrive in January or February.  So my temperature outlook for January will range from .5 degrees to 1.5 degrees above average.  Precipitation will probably run below average, but there will be a greater threat of ice and snow storms.


I believe that threat of Ice and Snow storms will extend thru the month of February where temperatures may buck the trend of traditional La Nina’s with near average temps expected.  I will forecast an average temperature from -.5 degrees to +.5 degrees from average.  Precip may be close to normal, but more than likely below average.

With these projections the drought will persist or worsen.  But in January and February with a colder shallow layer of air at the surface… more ice storms than what we have seen in recent years will be possible. 

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