NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released its official winter weather outlook Thursday. For December 2022 through February 2023, NOAA forecasters are predicting drier-than-average and milder-than-average conditions for the southern tier of the country, including Texas.

The outlook is largely driven by an expectation that La Niña will persist for a third-consecutive winter–something that has only occurred a handful of times over the past 70 years. La Niña is associated with cooler than-normal waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean that have a ripple effect on the weather all across the world. CPC forecasters call for a 75 percent chance La Niña will continue through the winter.

For Texas and much of the southern U.S., La Nina tends to keep the jet stream north of Texas through much of the winter, resulting in fewer storm systems and cold fronts affecting the state.

According to CPC’s Winter Drought Outlook, below-normal rainfall across Texas this winter is expected to cause current drought conditions to persist and possibly grow worse.

Beyond winter, there are indications La Niña will weaken and come to an end by spring. ENSO-neutral conditions are forecast for spring 2023, offering up the possibility rainfall patterns could trend toward normal.