El Nino Could Increase Rainfall in West Texas

El Nino Could Increase Rainfall in West Texas

An El Nino weather pattern expected to form later this year may bring drought relief to West Texas.
MIDLAND, TX, (Local Big 2 News) - Climate forecasters monitor the waters of the Pacific for signs of El Nino. Although we are not officially in an El Nino weather pattern yet, one is expected to form before the end of this year, potentially washing away our prolonged drought.

"Right now, we're in the summertime, so the effects of El Nino or La Nina are kind of masked by the summer," says Brian Curran, Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service Office in Midland, Texas.

"For El Nino this year, it's looking pretty good," predicts Curran.

We need the rain badly.

"Right now at Midland we're about 25" deficit of rain since the beginning of 2010," describes Curran.

That's alot of rain to make up.

"It would be like we would have to make up a year and half of moisture in a short period of time, just to get back to where we should be," says Curran.

El Nino happens when ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator warm well above average, this gives us a better chance for above average rainfall in West Texas, as the jet stream which guides our storms moves into West Texas and parts of Mexico, giving us a better chance for above average rainfall. However, in a La Nina year, which is what we've seen recently, we see a better chance for dry conditions as the jet stream moves toward Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

"We don't want to see La Nina's, because those we'll just get those big wind storms, like we've had for the last several years," Curran explains.

Taking a look at the Climate Prediction Center's forecast map for late fall into early winter of next year, we see above average rainfall chances for West Texas, it's about a 40 percent chance for more rainfall than we'd typically see, which is great news for our drought.

"It really kind of depends on the path of that subtropical jet stream, if it goes too far south across Mexico, we might get cut out," he says.

For now, we'll take any rain we can get.

"If we can get some more moisture with these little thunderstorms that come through during the summertime, everything's good," adds Curran.

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