As holidays are approaching, our Texan climate is both steadily decreasing in temperature, as well as spontaneously changing every night. Which brings an important question to all Texas residents.
Should residents expect another winter storm this year?
For those not informed on the tragedy that occurred last winter, Texas experienced historically low temperatures with snow storms, road freezes and power outages. Which resulted in loss of lives, property damage and political tension. It was more than a ‘snowstorm’ it was a national emergency resulting from a failure of infrastructure, policy and readiness.
Regardless, what are the chances that it snows again this year?
In order to answer this question it's important to be familiar with ‘El Niño’ and ‘La Niña’ and what caused the statewide freeze in the first place. El Niño describes a pattern when the tropic pacific experiences unusually warm temperatures, whereas La Niña describes a pattern of unusual cold temperatures. Last winter there was a moderate La Niña pattern, however that wasn't what caused the statewide freeze. The reason for the historically low temperatures was because of a sudden stratospheric warming event (unrelated to La Niña), which is a disruption in the polar vortex that pulled cold air down to Texas. Weather analysts expect another La Niña pattern to occur this year. Though, La Nina occurring twice means that it typically has a relatively warmer temperature, less snowfall and drier conditions. Which means that this winter is expected to be warmer, drier and have a lower chance of snowing.
Considering all of this, a winter storm is less likely to occur this year.
Regardless, it's important to know that climate predictions are almost never guaranteed. Texan Residents (and any resident for that matter) should continue to make realistic preparations. Storing extra blankets, heaters and candles would be beneficial now and later, after all it's better to be safe than sorry.
Written by: Ricardo Corpus
YEOMAS, D., CURRIE, K. AND HENRIKSON, E.
La Niña returns — could historic Texas freeze happen again?
Yeomas, D., Currie, K. and Henrikson, E., 2021. La Niña returns — could historic Texas freeze happen again?. [online] Kxan. Available at: <https://www.kxan.com/weather/la-nina-returns-could-historic-texas-freeze-happen-again/> [Accessed 18 November 2021].