Oct 24, 2023 - News

San Antonio could finally get rain this winter

Winter 2023-24 precipitation outlook
Data: NOAA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

There's a heightened chance of a wetter-than-normal winter season in San Antonio this year, per a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seasonal outlook.

The big picture: The combination of a strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean and record high global ocean temperatures are likely to shape the upcoming winter season in potentially unexpected ways, Axios Generate's Andrew Freedman reports.

Why it matters: This summer was the fifth driest on record in San Antonio. We've had restrictions on water use for more than a year.

Zoom in: San Antonio has a 40% chance of a wetter-than-average winter, per NOAA.

By the numbers: Our rainfall to date this year totals nearly 16 inches — more than 11 inches below our normal rainfall for the year at this time, per the San Antonio Water System.

How it works: El Niño winters in the U.S. tend to feature a split jet stream flow across the country.

  • A southern branch carries storms from California and across the southern tier of the country, bringing above-average precipitation to areas from central California to Florida.

The intrigue: It's not yet clear how record warm global average temperatures will tip the scales in terms of U.S. air temperature and precipitation trends this winter.

  • But they do raise the threat for some surprises, potentially in the form of extreme weather events.

The bottom line: Rain, rain, come again.

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