If you’ve been thinking the recent weather hasn’t felt much like December and more like spring, you are correct. So far, winter has barely shown up. Despite much of our region seeing a freeze this past Sunday, average temperatures for the first half of December are among the warmest on record. The far northern position of the jet stream across Canada through first half of the month has limited the amount of cold air flowing south into Texas. December’s weather has instead been dominated by a moderate wind flowing north from unusually warm waters covering the Gulf of Mexico.
The result has been temperatures averaging anywhere between 6 and 12 degrees above normal across all of Texas!
In Austin, the average temperature at Camp Mabry for the first 15 days of the month has been 64.5 degrees, which is 9.6 degrees above normal! Looking at the record book, this is the warmest first half of December ever recorded, beating December 1-15, 1906 by 0.7 degrees.
For Austin-Bergstrom, the average temperature for the first 15 days of the month has been 62.1 degrees, which is 8.9 degrees above normal! December 1-15, 2021 ranks as the second warmest such stretch on record, behind December 1-15, 1995.
Thursday, the Climate Prediction Center issued its monthly seasonal temperature and precipitation outlook update. The new outlook continues to show increased odds temperatures will average warmer than-normal and rainfall will average drier than-normal January through March. A weak to moderate La Niña is predicted to remain in place through early spring, keeping the jet stream generally up to the north of Texas.
There are some signs the temperature may trend away from the record warmth as we move into January. But until then, it’s not going to be feeling much like winter across Central Texas.