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Dry La Nina gone; wet El Nino on the way

El Nino prediction

A National Weather Service graph that shows the likelihood of an El Nino weather pattern developing in the coming months. National Weather Service image

The National Weather Service issued an El Niño watch on April 13, meaning the pattern could develop within the next six months and bring wetter weather to Central Texas.

La Niña ended in Central Texas in March, and the region entered the ENSO-neutral stage. La Niña typically means drier weather, and the latest one lasted a year and a half. 

The NWS predicts a 62 percent chance of El Niño kicking off in the months of May, June, and July. The chances go up to 86 percent by November, December, and January.

In an interview with the Texas Water Newsroom, Texas Water Development Board hydrologist Dr. Mark Wentzel explained the impact El Niño and La Niña can have on Texas.

“El Niño and La Niña, that whole cycle, that is really just looking at sea surface temperatures in a large area of the eastern Pacific,” he said in the interview. “For (Texas), La Niña conditions, the warmer temperatures in the eastern Pacific, those really correlate to warmer and drier winters than we would typically experience.” 

El Niño can have the opposite effect, bringing extra moisture from the Pacific Ocean to Texas, according to Wentzel.