Countdown to Spring – CBS Texas
North Texas – Last January was very special, and it wasn’t just your imagination. Your heating bill likely reflects this.
January 2024 turned out to be the second coldest month on record in DFW over the past 12 years.
We emerged from that cold month with a wonderful string of very warm winter days.
This trend is expected to extend at least until the end of next week.
All these warm winter days may turn your thoughts to early spring. The forecast for next week certainly looks warm.
However, this signal that temperatures may be higher than normal fades over a period of 8 to 14 days.
It then flips to the possibility of below normal temperatures given the last 12 days of February (this is a leap year).
So…what about next spring? Let’s start by looking at some key dates!
The last freeze in DFW was on January 22nd. There’s a very good chance we’ll have another freeze before we head into spring.
However, the first recent freeze of the season occurred in 2017 when the growing season within the Metroplex actually began on January 9th! The second oldest recorded date is February 5, 2000, so the January date is a really strange date.
By the way, there is no freeze in the forecast for the next 10 days.
The latest 3-month forecast was released Thursday and includes February and the first two months of spring. There is no clear signature on whether the next three months will see temperatures below or above normal in Texas.
But what about rainfall? We’ve had a wet January this year thanks to an El Nino winter. An active southerly jet is bringing heavy rain to the West Coast. Even though we sit 1,500 miles from the shores of Los Angeles, we are in the general upper air flow for this weather pattern. The forecast for February is for the West Coast to be very wet and a higher than normal chance of rain for us.
Over the next three months, there is a slight chance of above normal precipitation in some of North Texas. Just getting around to normal would be a huge improvement over the past couple of years.
We traditionally have a somewhat uneven history of spring precipitation here in North Texas. Just look at the past ten years. Back in 2015, DFW recorded its second wettest spring on record. Just two years later, the sixth driest spring on record occurred (records go back to 1899).
Also note the last two springs of below normal rainfall. Not only did we have a dry spring last year, we also had a dry year. Some of our area lakes in the western half have not been close to a full pool in some time.
In fact, Bridgeport Lake is more than 15 feet below level, and Eagle Mountain is more than six feet below level. If this wet trend indeed continues, we can improve our water supply in these areas as we enter the growing season. Let’s hope so. Of course, something other than a sweltering summer. We’ve had two of those in a row.
Jeff Ray is CBS News Texas’ Chief First Alert Meteorologist and an avid gardener. When he’s not covering weather, he reports for our “Climate Connection” series. If you would like Jeff to come talk to your group about how changing weather patterns are changing the way we garden in this region, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Tags for translation) Weather forecast