Precipitation Forecast

According to the National Weather Service, the Texas Hill Country is supposedly going to have a slightly drier than normal start to 2011. In the following graphic obtained from their website, you can see how they show January being relatively arid.

Image from NOAA/ National Weather Service

Then carry this prediction of dry weather all the way out through May in this series of graphics.

Image from NOAA/ National Weather Service

I was initially concerned but also noticed how they also predict dry conditions throughout southern California. Anyone who has been following the news knows that California is on its way to having a record year of precipitation. The best gauge there is the amount of snowfall in the mountains. As of this date, the southern Sierras are exceeding the previous record set in the 1982-83 year.

Image from the California Department of Water Resources

I’m not a meteorologist but something definitely does not add up with the Weather Services prediction. Hopefully this means we will not see the mild drought as they forecasted and keep getting adequate rainfall to keep those Hill Country rivers flowing!

Update: According to the NWS, the reason for the continued precipitation is that an North Atlantic Oscillation is overpowering a La Niña that appeared in July of last year. This easily predictable La Niña would normally cause drier air to be pulled in by the jet streams from the Pacific, resulting the the patterns predicted in the graphics they produced. However, North Atlantic Oscillations that can over-ride the effects of an La Niña are not predicable and could end at anytime. So the NWS is continuing with the prediction they can make, even if the NAO nullifies it.

Latest Update: I guess time certainly does tell. Yes, in the end the western mountains did get records amount of snow. However all that showed was that the long range forecasts were wrong, but not in the way we had hoped. It wasn’t just a “little” drier in Texas, it was an all time drought record for a single year! Stupid forecasts.