After the historic 2011 Texas Drought, and many months of extremely hot and dry weather in 2012, farmers and ranchers finally welcomed some timely rains in September and early October in the state.
But then late October became dry, and November turned unseasonably warm, dry and extremely windy for a long string of days.
Then the El Nino weather cycle that was supposed to bring a lot of wet weather by November just wimped out. El Nino is a warming of the surface water of the Central Pacific. This generally means a return to wetter conditions. It did for a short while—more rain in some places than others—but then just faded away.
Steve Lyons, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service forecast office, San Angelo, Texas, puts it bluntly—and sadly.
"The El Nino watch has been discontinued," Lyons laments. "Don't expect any big blockbuster rain from El Nino."
That doesn't mean there won't be some rain—somewhere—this winter, but the forecast is just not as encouraging as before. But typically, he adds, although rainfall is possible, Texas doesn't generally get a lot of rain in winter.
What's more, Lyons says Texas farmers and ranchers can expect slightly above average temperatures.
The wind just howled on several November days across the Rolling Plains and High Plains of West Texas. That's really bad on robbing some of the water that had been caught from previous early fall rains.
"This area is very high evaporation," Lyons says of West Texas. "Hot, windy days really remove water from catchments."