AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thursday morning NOAA released their Winter 2022-2023 forecast and it paints a familiar picture for Texas.
The influence of La Niña is expected to continue for the third winter (December-February) in a row resulting in a higher likelihood of a warmer and drier period ahead during our coldest months of the year. As we dive into later, not all La Niña winters have followed the warmer and drier than normal pattern.
NOAA’s Winter forecast for Texas
Warmer than normal and drier than normal conditions are favored this winter throughout much of Texas.
The drier-than-normal conditions would continue to worsen our drought, which is already getting worse after some recent improvements.
The Climate Prediction Center’s drought outlook through the end of January, 2023 expects drought to continue or worsen throughout most of Texas.
U.S. winter outlook
Elsewhere in the U.S. cooler than normal conditions are expected in the Pacific Northwest and the upper Midwest. Warmer than normal conditions are expected for most of the southern tier of the United States and most of the East Coast.
Below normal precipitation is expected throughout the southern states. Wetter than normal conditions are expected in the Pacific Northwest and near the Great Lakes.
What’s normal Winter?
Here’s what temperatures and precipitation typically average* in Wichita Falls (Sheppard Air Force Base) for the winter months of December through February.
- Average High: 55.7°
- Average Low: 31°
- Average Precipitation: 1.5″
- Average Snow: 0.8″
- Average High: 54.7°
- Average Low: 30.0°
- Average Precipitation: 1.20″
- Average Snow: 0.7″
- Average High: 59.0°
- Average Low: 33.6°
- Average Precipitation: 1.40″
- Average Snow: 1.1″
*30-year average based on 1991-2020
In-Depth: How have the last few winters been?
The 30-year winter average mean temperature, which factors in highs and lows for each day, is around 44.5° at Wichita Falls. This is how the last five winters have compared to that average:
- Winter 2017-2018: Colder than average (43.0°)
- Winter 2018-2019: Colder than average (43.7°)
- Winter 2019-2020: Warmer than average (46.3°)Winter 2020-2021: Colder than average (41.7°)Winter
- 2021-2022: Warmer than average (46.4°)
The 30-year winter average precipitation is around 4.16″ inches in Wichita Falls. This is how the last 5 winters have compared to that average:
- Winter 2017-2018: Drier than normal (3.83″)
- Winter 2018-2019: Wetter than normal (5.64″)
- Winter 2019-2020: Wetter than normal (5.43″)
- Winter 2020-2021: Drier than normal (3.64″)
- Winter 2021-2022: Drier than normal (1.85″)
The 30-year winter average snowfall for Wichita Falls is around 2.6 inches. This is how the last 5 winters have compared to that average.
- Winter 2017-2018: Below normal snowfall (1.0″)
- Winter 2018-2019: Above normal snowfall (3.7″)
- Winter 2019-2020: Above normal snowfall (3.3″)
- Winter 2020-2021: Much above normal snowfall (13.8″)
- Winter 2021-2022: Above normal snowfall (4.4″)