Now that we are in December, it’s time to project what may be ahead for the upcoming winter.  Meteorologists consider winter to be the months of December, January, and February.  The official forecast from the Climate Prediction Center indicates that if you add up all of the highs and lows and average them out, we will likely see above-normal temperatures this winter.  That doesn’t mean that we won’t have any bouts with the cold.  (More on that later).  CPC also predicts that we will see the continuation of the rather dry conditions that have caused moderate to severe drought conditions to develop over most of the ArkLaTex.    Saying this winter is going to be warmer and drier than normal leaves a lot of questions about the winter unanswered 

People often don’t realize that there are cycles that occur in ocean temperatures around the globe.  There are various indices that keep track of ocean temperatures for various parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  One of those indices is the ONI that is what the terms La Nina and El Nino are based on.  The ONI index now indicates that we are experiencing weak La Nina conditions. Much of the rest of the northern Pacific ocean is currently much cooler than normal.  In fact, it’s been nearly 70 years since this part of the Pacific is as cool as it is now. I have looked back through the records over the past 80 years and found a certain year in the past that MAY provide some clues that may answer a few more detailed questions on what the upcoming winter may hold.

You say above normal temperatures.  Just how warm will it be? 

We should see our fair share of spring-like temperatures this winter.  It’s possible that we could see a handful of days where we hit at least 80 degrees and more than two dozen days where temperatures hit at least 70 degrees.  That means that nearly 30% of the days this winter could feature 70+ degree warmth.

Does that mean that it won’t get cold?   

No,  not necessarily.  We will get cold at times just not as often.  It appears that we could see one cold snap where temperatures drop into the teens.  Other than that, the cold could be rather limited.  I’m thinking that we will only see eleven nights where temperatures in Shreveport dip into the 20s or below.  It’s also possible that we may not dip into the 20s during the month of February. That would be a big change from what we experienced last February.

Will it snow?  

As if right now, I would say probably not.  If we get some snow, it will probably be less than 1”.

Just how dry will it be?

Over the past few months, we have seen rainfall totals that have been a few inches below normal.  It appears that that will probably be the case for both December and January with January being the driest compared to normal.  We could see more rain in February with totals that should be close to normal. 

It appears that the ‘winter’ month of December will get off to a rather warm start with highs in the 70s for the first five days of the month.  This could be a sign of what’s to come for much of the winter ahead.  Stay Tuned.

Todd Warren