The weather outside should be frightful; however, a Texas winter usually means boots one day and flip-flops the next. Though December is often a month for flurries, snowball fights and big winter coats, Lee Carlaw, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said North Texas is on track for another warm winter.
“This is not the warmest November we’ve had on record,” he said, but “[it] should be top 10 warmest Novembers in recent years.”
In 2016, the average temperature during November was 63.5 degrees. The next warmest November happened in 1909 with average temperatures at 63.2 degrees. Average highs this November were 73 degrees, and the average lows were around 52 degrees, which will lead warmer weather throughout December and January.
Meteorologists say this warm winter is the result of a lack of Arctic winds covering the southernmost part of the country.
According to Carlaw, polar Arctic winds that bring cold, winter winds are sticking to the northern states and Canada while warm, moist winds coming from the Gulf of Mexico are sticking around North Texas. This winter, residents can expect consistent highs in the 60s and 70s, followed up by cold snaps in the lows in the 50s and 40s, and shortly followed by highs again.
“That’s pretty typical for La Niña years we find ourselves in now, where we get these fairly quick cold snaps but they’re not drawn out over many months and many weeks,” he said. “Now that may be changing as we get into next week.”
Signals show a cold push coming to North Texas, but there’s a lot of uncertainty in weather patterns, so residents are advised to keep their eye on the weather services.
“The coldest air overall looks like it’s going to stay up in the upper midwest, the northeast and the Great Lakes. But it does look like we do have a shot at some below normal temperature, which are going to feel much below normal, considering where we’ve been so far this year,” Carlaw said.
So far, the North Texas winter looks very similar to last years with consistent highs and warm winds and few but severe cold snaps in between. Meteorologists are expecting a similar winter this year into 2018. Dec. into Jan. should see some days of prolonged cold weather, but residents can expect warmer winds soon after.