Though you really cannot tell by the late October heat wave we’ve had, winter is not all that far away.  And the time is now to start looking at forecasts and making appropriate plans. We all remember the surprise blizzard of Christmas Eve 2009. That short hour and a half ride to grandma and grandpa’s house turned into an hour’s long introduction to ‘Blizzard 101’.

Though forecasting is quite good today thanks to all the satellites, gadgets and gizmos that forecasters have at their disposal, it’s not now, nor is it ever likely to be, an exact science. You have to be ready for just about anything.

I sat down recently with Katrina Farmer, Executive Director of the North Central Texas Chapter and Abilene Branch of the American Red Cross to discuss what you should and should not do:

So what does the forecast hold in store for Texoma this winter season?  As the graphics below from NOAA indicate, the northern and western portions of Texas have at least a fair chance of cooler and wetter than normal weather.  With Texoma still in the death grip of the drought, any precipitation is a welcome sight.  And cooler weather always translates into reduced evaporation of our lakes.

U.S. Winter Outlook - Precipitation
U.S. Winter Outlook - Temperature

So what happened to El Niño?  The most recent NOAA forecast for El Nino indicates that “Above-median precipitation is favored for much of the ongoing drought areas of the central and southern Great Plains…drought improvement is forecast for this region.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? Forecasters weren’t as optimistic as recently as 30 days ago, but it sounds as if the El Niño may have just gotten off to a slow start. Keep praying for rain, Texoma!