Chris Coleman, ERCOT Meteorologist
Spring 2017 Weather Outlook
The winter season ranked as the warmest in Texas weather history (dating back to 1895).
I would not expect any significant changes to that trend, heading into the spring season. I am again forecasting a warmer-than-normal season for the ERCOT region.
The best opportunity for the strongest above normal temperature anomalies will be over southern portions of the state. The northern regions may be more susceptible to the occasional period of cooler-than-normal temperatures, but that is not likely to be a frequent feature this coming spring. In other words, even with a relatively cooler period or two, there will be ample opportunity for above-normal temperatures to be a more common occurrence. In fact, this spring will have greater potential to be warmer-than-forecast rather than cooler-than-forecast.
To note, the last seven seasons (from the summer of 2015 through this winter) have all been warmer-than-normal. All ranked at least the 21st warmest of 122 years, dating back to 1895. I will need to see a strong indicator of a major change in the weather pattern before I’ll deviate from this very warm trend.
The 2016-17 winter season was wetter-than-average for most of the state. 2015 and 2016 were the two wettest consecutive years in Texas weather history. For most of the state, the ground continues to be wet and the reservoirs continue to see above-average water levels.
The precipitation forecast for the spring of 2017 suggests an overall pattern that will not be as wet as the winter -- though some localized regions could be. Best chance for below-normal rainfall this spring will be West and South Texas. Note: South Texas will have a wet start to the season. All of the large ERCOT cities are forecast to see at least near-normal rainfall. Central Texas shows some potential to have a wet spring.
A preliminary look ahead to the summer season shows continued above-normal temperature potential. The final, detailed summer weather outlook will be issued on May 1.