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Environment & Nature

What La Niña means for North Texas this winter

Map of the world showing La Niña patterns.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
This graphic shows how La Niña generally affects weather conditions in the United States. Forecasters say there's a nearly 90% chance that La Niña conditions will be in place from December 2021 to February 2022.

It will be drier and warmer for North Texas this holiday season due to La Niña. Temperatures are expected to hover in the mid-to-low 60s until December.

La Niña is a weather pattern that often occurs when the oceans in the Pacific are cooler than normal, resulting in a cold and wet winter in the northern half of the U.S. At the same time, this results in an opposite effect for southern landmasses like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

North Texas is already seeing two inches less rain than the typical 4 inches this month.

"You may not get the white Christmas or the snowy winter that you want. Also, it's just going to be a little bit drier,” said Monique Sellers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “We are going to start to see those grasses turn yellow a little bit faster than we're used to."

Residents can already feel temperatures rising. November’s highs are expected to average around 65 degrees. Rain in the North Texas region is predicted to sit at least 30-40% below normal.

“We're already beginning to see that drought creeping in, and in some areas, it never quite left parts of West Texas. So we've already started to see that building over the past couple of weeks,” Sellers said.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. The next update will be released on Nov. 19.

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Got a tip? Ana Perez at aperez@kera.org. You can follow Ana on Twitter @anabpez9.