After a wet, cloudy December, the past week has been quite the opposite. We’ve seen plenty of sunshine and no precipitation. La Niña is showing its hand. Here is the outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for January.
The outlook calls for much above normal temperatures for the month. So far the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation have not dipped strongly negative, which indicates the stronger probability of widespread Arctic air pouring out over the U.S. The AO and NAO were strongly negative during the last two winters. The AO did go slightly negative recently, which matches up with the Arctic air that has invaded the eastern 1/3 of the U.S. this week, including Florida. Looking at the forecasts for the NAO over the next week or two…it does look like we could see it go slightly negative toward the 9th or 10th of the month. And looking at other computer models, it does look like there will be a cold outbreak around the 12th or 13th of January.
The precipitation outlook shows North Texas having “equal chances” of seeing either below or above average precipitation. Of course we have noted recently that the La Nina pattern in the Pacific lends itself to drier weather here in North Texas. I still think there’s a better chance of seeing a dry January because of this. Also, the Madden-Julian Oscillation has quieted down a bit after being active during the first part of December and helped give us a wetter-than-normal last month of 2011.