Winter Outlook: Warmer than average

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Meteorologist Brad Barton

November weather turned out cooler, drier and a lot quieter than October, while warmer-than-average temperatures are predicted this winter.

To refresh your memory, October produced a near 70-degree temperature drop from 96 degrees on October 1st to 27 degrees on the 31st. During that hot-to-cold transition, North Texas endured a record onslaught of 11 tornadoes on the night of October 20th. In Dallas County alone, over 900 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed by the strongest EF-3 tornado. Considering the number of touchdowns in densely-populated areas that night, it is remarkable that only a few people suffered minor injuries, mainly from flying glass. From a public safety standpoint, we call that a “successful weather disaster.” Severe weather was virtually non-existent in Denton County during November.

November began with a hard freeze of 25 degrees on the first of the month. The warmest temperature was 79 on the 19th. The coldest temperature of 19 degrees occurred on the morning of the 13th. Our day-night average temperature worked out to 50.3, which was 5 degrees cooler than normal.

Rainfall was a little light for the month. Denton Enterprise recorded 1.57″ over the 6th and 7th. Another .17″ fell over the 21st and 22nd. At this writing, (November 25th), Denton has recorded a sub-total of 1.81 inches, which is .57″ below normal for November. So far this year, our running rainfall total is roughly 29 inches, slightly below normal.

If the near-term rainfall forecast is accurate, Denton will have picked up another inch or more of rain over the Thanksgiving holiday through November 30th.

Looking ahead, El Nino conditions in the central Pacific are neutral. The Climate Prediction Center indicates a large swath of the country including Texas will be warmer than normal with near-normal rainfall during December. For the entire winter, the NWS Outlook follows through with warmer temperatures throughout the western states and Texas, all the way through the South. While the warmer regions are likely to be drier than normal, it looks to be a rough winter from Montana, through the Dakotas into the Great Lakes and the Metro Northeast.

In North Texas, a “normal” December gives us an average daytime temperature of 66 with an average low of 45 and rainfall (hopefully, all liquid) of about 2.7 inches. On average, North Texas experiences roughly three “snow days” each winter, more likely in January and February.

A reminder: Just because the long-range forecast predicts warmer than normal conditions for December and winter in general, don’t think we won’t have some significant outbreaks of Arctic and Polar air masses reaching our area. We’ve already had one Polar outbreak long before the Winter Solstice due at 10:19 CST on December 21st.

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About The Author

Brad Barton

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist of WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 “The Wolf” and the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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