2018 is certainly continuing much like it started in the global view.
As has been the story the last several months, La Niña remained into February. Sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean along with atmospheric conditions both continued to point to ongoing La Niña, but there were some indications that La Niña will come to an end. Not only are long-term models indicating an eventual end to La Niña, subsurface tropical Pacific temperature trends are also pointing toward changes. These changes are still expected for the spring season. During spring, we should see a return to El Niño Southern Oscillation neutral conditions, which means neither La Niña nor El Niño. Then ENSO neutral conditions are expected to remain through the spring months.
Parts of Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming had a stretch of above normal precipitation during the first half of February, which was helpful in terms of ongoing drought conditions. Through the middle of February, parts of Texas picked up some much needed moisture with at least a couple inches of rain falling in eastern Texas. Unfortunately, this rain was not more widespread. Northern Texas continued to see worsening drought in the first part of February. This also spread into parts of Oklahoma where there continued to be deficits in moisture over the last few months.
For March, the lack of precipitation is expected to continue for south and west Texas as below average precipitation is currently expected. Temperatures into March should average above normal for southern Texas while for the northern Plains and farther south (including most of Kansas and Nebraska) will likely see temperatures average or below seasonal norms.
Looking ahead into the next few months, the outlook is pointing to temperatures averaging above normal from Texas to southern Nebraska. The northern High Plains are looking at the opposite with temperatures mostly below the 30-year average.
For precipitation, generally the central and southern Plains can expect below normal precipitation in the next few months while the northern Plains are forecast to have above average precipitation.
For parts of southeast Kansas, central and eastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas currently experiencing any sort of drought conditions, at least some improvement is expected in the next few months. For mainly southwest Kansas, western Oklahoma and western Texas current drought conditions are expected to persist in the coming months.
I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so stay tuned for next month’s update.
Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. She is a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.