End of 2023 brought some moisture to Plains

Woman with shovel cleaning snow. (Photo: iStock - Tanya-stock)

As we rang in the New Year, some parts of the Plains were counting their blessings as widespread moisture fell in the past month. 

While this moisture slowed fieldwork, it was still a welcome sight from southwest Kansas into the Texas panhandle. Several spots in those areas measured over 2 inches of precipitation during the early part of December.  

Regina Bird
Regina Bird

Also in Texas, record cold was noted as Austin saw the temperature dip to cold 24 degrees Fahrenheit on Dec. 11.  

Around Christmas, a winter storm tracked through the Plains too. Along with bringing a white Christmas, this winter storm packed a punch with strong winds and for some even a wintry mix. This led to travel impacts and some road closures.  

Looking forward, southeast Texas is forecast to see precipitation average above normal for the month of January.  

For temperatures, northern Nebraska should see the mercury climb above seasonal norms for the next three months. During that time frame, typical temperatures are expected from southern Kansas into northern Texas.  

Through March, most of Nebraska and Kansas along with eastern Texas are forecast to see precipitation adding up to above normal.  

The added precipitation in eastern Texas should help to alleviate some drought conditions. But drought looks to persist for portions of Kansas (from west to east) and central and eastern Nebraska.  

From the global perspective, El Niño conditions were ongoing and are forecast to persist through the winter. As we head into spring, we should see a transition to ENSO-neutral at some point. As mentioned last month, a strong El Niño looks to be possible ahead of the transition, but that doesn’t mean that impacts will be strong. It just means an increased likelihood of the impacts.  

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 worked as a television meteorologist for nine years in Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX