Our weather finally got hot and dry during August. Fortunately, our record rains during the spring months limited damage to crops, landscapes and lake recreation.
Our hottest stretch at Denton’s Enterprise Airport ran from August 5-11 with high temperatures ranging from 101 to 104. Our hot streak was ended by a welcome cool-snap that left us with low temperatures in the 60’s at mid-month.
Rainfall was nearly non-existent, but not that unusual for August. We had trace amounts on the 14 and 20, and a full tenth of an inch on August 19. Total rainfall for August was only .12″ which was over an inch below normal.
Our average high of 97 and average low of 74, gave us an average monthly temperature of 85.5 degrees, which was more than a degree warmer than normal for August.
Our mid-range forecasts for the fall months are far more interesting, thanks to continued strengthening of the developing El Nino in the Pacific. Sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific are running about 1.5 degrees warmer than normal, which puts the El Nino in the moderate to strong category.
No guarantees, but moderately strong El Ninos generally produce more frequent storm systems, which ride the sub-tropical jet stream toward the California coast. Unlike the polar jet stream, the more southern, sub-tropical jet stream carries Pacific moisture and slower, maritime storm systems that come across Mexico, California and the southwestern states into Texas.
Heavy, frequent rain storms could produce storm damage along the Pacific coast but also alleviate 3-5 years of drought in the western states, especially the Imperial Valley. California agriculture depends heavily on accumulated snowfall in the Sierras, which melts, feeding rivers and viaducts.
Indirectly, the forecast rains could help improve production and lower prices for food products, including fresh produce, poultry and cattle. And directly, an active sub-tropical jet stream should produce more frequent rain storms in Texas, as well.
Accordingly, the Climate Prediction Center outlook for September, October and November, indicates cooler and wetter than normal weather for most of Texas. Don’t expect much change in September, though. It’s likely the onset of heavier rains will hold off until the end of September, or even early October.
Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP820/570KLIF/99.5 “The Wolf.”