Adios, La Niña (But Will She Return?)

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

La Nina is gone. Is it time to break out the umbrellas?

It’s official. The La Niña weather pattern, one of the big factors behind the Texas drought, has finally left, according to a report out this week from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.

But will she come back? It’s a vital question, because the last two years we’ve seen back-to-back La Niñas. That resulted in the worst single-year drought on record in Texas.

This time, the National Weather Service is predicting La Niña won’t return. In today’s report, they say that “the current and evolving conditions, combined with model forecasts, suggest that La Niña is unlikely to re-develop later this year.” (Then again, forecasters predicted an abnormally dry winter for Texas, which thankfully didn’t turn out to be the case.)

At the same time, forecasters are predicting that the drought won’t go away completely anytime soon.

In their latest drought outlook, also out this week, they predict that the drought will “persist or intensify” for some of the state during the first half of the summer. Not coincidentally, those are the same parts of the state still suffering from the drought:

Map by NWS’s Climate Prediction Center

May and June are typically the wettest months in Texas, so La Niña’s exit may provide more opportunities for the state to recover from the drought. “After such a dry April, it will be interesting to see if May 2012 will live up to being a wet and stormy month or will the recent trend of dry weather continue,” Bob Rose, a meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority, wrote this week on the LCRA’s website. “Today’s long-range forecast data seems to suggest there will be some opportunities for rain over the next couple of weeks and the dry trend of April may not necessarily continue this month or next.”

So cross your fingers and dust off your umbrella and galoshes, because La Niña is finally gone. Perhaps a toast of rainwater is in order?

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