Temperature swings are off the charts

Regina Bird

If you want to be an optimist, by meteorological standards, spring has arrived! But if you’re waiting for the astronomical seasons you still have roughly a few weeks to wait.

The winter season has been a mild one for the world, with one notable record of January 2020 as the warmest January for the globe as a whole (records go back to 1880). According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, this follows the second highest December departure from normal for land and ocean surface temperatures across the globe in December 2019.

Although the global numbers for February have yet to come out, we can look back for parts of the Plains. Temperatures soared into the 80s and set records on Groundhog Day for Hill City, Kansas, Tribune, Kansas, and Borger, Texas, according to the National Weather Service. After the temperatures in the start of the month were near or above average for much of the plains, cold enveloped most of that area toward the middle of the month. Widespread heavy rain fell in parts of the south, including portions of Texas starting Feb. 10. Tyler, Texas picked up 5.72 inches of rain from Feb. 10 to 12.

Heading into March, we should see temperatures average below normal from Texas into Nebraska. Precipitation should be less than normal for eastern portions of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma for the next month.

That should change in the longer term for Nebraska and eastern Kansas with above normal precipitation favored for the next three months. On the contrary, western Texas should see the numbers below average. Our temperature trend also flips for Texas and southern Oklahoma for the next few months with temperatures expected to average warmer than seasonal norms.

ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) is still considered in control in the tropical Pacific, even though that hasn’t been reflected in oceanic temperatures. There’s a good chance of ENSO-neutral continuing into spring and possibly summer.

I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for next month’s update.

Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.