2017-09-12 / Front Page

Slightly warm fall, winter expected

BY JEFF LOWE
DISPATCH RECORD

Lampasas got an early taste of fall weather last week, but long-term forecasts indicate that sustained cool weather remains a ways off.

Bob Rose, chief meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority, said recent models indicate fall and winter temperatures could be at least one degree above average, and he anticipates drier than average weather.

Lampasas has been in a cooler-than-average late summer pattern, but Rose expects that to change, possibly as soon as this week.

August this year was the coolest since 1995, according to Rose’s data. There were no days in the month that reached 100-degree heat, according to the National Weather Service.

The last time August went by with no triple-digit temperatures in Lampasas was 2001, Rose said.

Jesse Moore, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Fort Worth district, also said to expect a slightly warmer fall. His data, however, indicated the weather here could be a little wetter than normal for the season.

“Overall for the fall, we are expecting slightly above-normal precipitation and slightly above normal as far as temperatures are concerned,” Moore said.

Moore said that general trend should be the same for areas surrounding Lampasas, from San Angelo to Abilene to Waco to Austin.

A major factor in the fall forecast is the ENSOneutral pattern, which means neither El Nino nor La Nina conditions are taking place.

ENSO stands for El Nino Southern Oscillation, which involves fluctuating temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino, caused by warmer ocean temperatures off the Pacific coast of South America, often brings wetter weather to Texas. La Nina, caused by cooler Pacific temperatures, tends to result in drier winters for Texas.

Rose said he uses “a blend of eight different weather models” which, when taken together, show a considerably drier pattern developing.

The meteorologist said the patterns could switch from neutral to a weak La Nina.

Rose predicted this area could see high temperatures in the mid-90s later this month, and he said sustained cool weather may not come until about mid-October.

Although he anticipates a somewhat mild winter, Rose said it should be “not nearly as warm as what we saw last winter or the year before.”

The winter of 2016-2017 was “one of the warmest” on record, he said, and it included the warmest February ever recorded for Lampasas.

Moore attributed Texas’ milder late-summer weather to an area of high pressure in the western U.S., coupled with a trough of low pressure in the eastern U.S. That allowed cool fronts to reach the state even in what is normally the “dog days of summer.”

Hurricane Harvey in late August also brought significantly cooler temperatures, including two consecutive days with a high of 76 degrees in Lampasas.

Moore said it is hard to pinpoint, in terms of degrees, how far above average temperatures could be this fall. He estimated it could average 1.5 degrees above normal, but that does not rule out the possibility of occasional cold blasts as winter approaches.

“Even with that, especially in the winter you can have these really strong cold snaps,” he said.

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