After the brutal drought of 2011, welcome rains this year put minds at ease in many parts of Texas. But any respite may be short-lived.
The best hope Texas had for a full recovery from its long drought was a wet upcoming winter. But recent weather models show that’s growing less and less likely. The reason? The El Niño weather pattern meteorologists expected is not forming in the Atlantic.
State Climatologist John Neilsen-Gammon tell StateImpact Texas the bad news doesn’t end there.
“The first set of forecasts that have come out indicate increasing chances of a La Niña next winter. The winter of 2013-14," Nelisen-Gammon says.
La Niña is the weather pattern that led to last year’s historic drought. Neilsen-Gammon says if this winter is dry, and then La Niña re-forms Texas could very well be on the path to a multi-year drought that could be worse than the 50’s drought of record.
His odds of that happening:
“A couple of months ago I pegged it at less than 50 percent, now I think it’s getting close to fifty percent."
Neilsen-Gammon says he’ll have a much better sense of whether Texas is out of drought—or continuing a long one—by the spring of 2013.
KUT's StateImpact Texas is an energy and environment reporting project with KUHF in Houston and NPR. You can read more at StateImpactTexas.org.