Texas summer that wasn’t (plus other fun weather facts)

Jerry Clayton of TPR spoke with a meteorologist about unusual weather in 2021 and more.

Jerry Clayton: This summer in central and southern Texas has been unusual. In San Antonio, the weather summer, that is, from June 1 to August 31, the temperature never reached 100 degrees. How unusual is this? Keith White is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office, Austin, San Antonio. Join us today. Thanks for being here, Keith.

Keith White: Absolutely

Clayton: Keith, it’s obvious to everyone that this summer has been unusual, to say the least. How unusual has it been?

White: Well, it has been cooler than normal, but especially in terms of daytime highs, mainly because of the humidity it has had basically since the last third of spring. And after the summer, much of our region has experienced above-average rainfall and, above all, above the normal number of days with measurable rainfall. In fact, Austin had the third-highest number of days with at least a hundredth of an inch of rain in one hundred and twenty-three years of historical records. The last time we had so much rain in the summer of 2007, and it was also the last time we had these days that they reached 100 degrees during the summer. There were only five at Austin Camp Mabry and zero days, which reached 100 in San Antonio. Meanwhile, our night lows as a result of excess moisture had been almost above normal for most of the summer.

Clayton: Historically speaking, how unusual was the recent winter storm?

White: Incredibly! It is without a doubt one of the most shocking winter weather weeks this area of ​​the country has ever known, at least in the last 120 years or so. And at Austin Camp Mabry, in fact, it was below freezing temperature for a total of 144 hours, which is the longest time on record, although those records only date back to the 1940s. In addition, it was the fourth snowiest event, you know, that Sunday night through Monday morning in mid-February that the city of Austin has ever seen. And I think the same for San Antonio. It was the fourth snowiest event in San Antonio as well. So when you take that into account and add to those parts of Austin and Hill, there have also been two ice-forming events. And there was also an independent snow event that brought the all-snow record to Del Rio a few days later. It was truly an incredibly awesome week of winter time.

Clayton: We look forward to next winter. What are the predictions so far?

White: Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but there’s a La Nina watch. In fact, the El Nino and La Nina cycles can have some impacts on our average global climate during the winter, usually during the La Nina years. If it develops, we see, on average, warmer and drier than normal conditions. south central Texas. But that, of course, can still be periods of cooler, wetter weather, as we just saw last winter, of course, which was also a La Nina. And even looking back at the historical record, the record snowfall in San Antonio in 1985, which was also a year of La Nina. So while we can make a decent prediction that there are many chances of having generally warmer, drier conditions, if someone is able to develop, as I said, there may still be some periods of winter weather during this time. .

Clayton: When you look at the latest weather events, can you fix it on climate change per se?

White: Not necessarily. What we can say is that that February event would probably have been even colder in a world a century ago, which was cooler on average than today. And looking at the historical climate record at our sites that contain, you know, lots and lots of data, yes, it was, you know, cool and humid compared to what we would expect from the normal 30s. But in fact, apart from Del Rio, which was actually because it was much drier to the west along the Rio Grande, they actually experienced the ninth warmest summer on record. And in terms of classification, none of our other places of precipitation or temperature are close to the top ten.

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Credit – https://www.tpr.org/environment/2021-09-05/the-texas-summer-that-wasnt-plus-other-fun-climate-facts