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Weather Facts: El Nino comeback

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It's flood safety awareness week for Texas. Unfortunately, it may take a big flood to shake off the three year drought and fill up Lake Travis which is 53 feet from being full. The chances of bigger rain events may increase late this year as El Nino tries to make a comeback.

There is an El Nino watch in effect for the second half of the year. This may lead to good things for drought stricken Texas. El Nino is the warming of ocean water across eastern pacific which shows up every 3 to 5 years. The last one happened in 2009 so we are overdue for one.

Most computer weather models predict El Nino roaring back into the picture this fall and winter. The strength of this event is still up in the air. If it turns out to be a strong one, look for more rain events as we wrap up 2014.

Since 1970, there have been 11 El Nino events and they normally lead to a wetter than average fall and winter for us.

With the warmer eastern pacific water, there will be more moisture and energy heading this way as the southern branch of the Jetstream becomes more active. This translates into a higher frequency of rain events for Texas.

During El Nino events Lake Travis rises on average 11 feet. Now the last El Nino event of 2009 to 2010, we saw a huge lake level climb on Travis. It went up 45 feet in 5 months.

Will this happen this year? It is too early to say but we will see some improvements in drought and water supply category if El Nino pans out. NOAA is predicting near average rainfall for the rest of the year.

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