The past month has included a mix of conditions across the plains. As fall goes on and temperatures trend colder, precipitation chances tend to include the possibility of snow for parts of the plains.
Nov. 8 included some daily record snowfall based on records kept by the National Weather Service for places like Grand Island, Nebraska, Concordia, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri.
Then a few days later, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wichita, Kansas, and Springfield, Missouri, set new records for daily snowfall on Nov. 12.
Harvest was slowed in some areas during the month of November because of precipitation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture listed nationwide harvest numbers nearing completion including corn (90 percent), soybeans (91 percent) and sorghum (80 percent) as of Nov. 18.
Precipitation recently has aided in increased soil moisture for those who were dealing with drought. For the southern to central Plains, this means continuing improved drought conditions in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and eastern Kansas. Expansive drought is still an issue in Colorado. Snowfall in Colorado during the month of November did help to bring a bit of improvement.
Southern Colorado should continue to see improvements to the drought conditions in the coming months with continued drought concerns expected for the northern part of the state.
In the global view, recent sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific were above criteria considered for El Niño, but atmospheric conditions were not yet reflecting El Niño. Both need to be present for an El Niño to be declared. It still looks likely that the switch will occur soon. Once it is declared, El Niño should continue into the winter months.
In December, temperatures should generally be above average for most of Texas and Colorado while precipitation will be above normal for the majority of Colorado. Below average precipitation is expected during the next month for northeast Texas and eastern Oklahoma.
For most of the winter months, temperatures are expected to be above average for the northern plains into Kansas.
Texas, western Oklahoma and far southwest Kansas should see above normal precipitation for the next three months.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for January’s update.
Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.