Information out from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms what many probably already knew: It was a really warm winter. NOAA’s National Climate Summary for December through February says the lower 48 states experienced the warmest winter ever recorded when it comes to average temperature.
Here in Texas we had the eighth warmest winter on record. The record, by the way, goes back 121 years. It’s made for a some nice days outside and led to what might have been the earliest strawberry crop ever in Fredericksburg, Texas.
You can credit the strong El Niño weather pattern that’s still active for some of that heat. But, rising global temperatures also mean we’re breaking temperature records more often. 2015 was the warmest year on record globally, and 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have happened since the turn of the century. Given the way this year started, it would not be a surprise if 2016 tops 2015 when it comes to average temperatures.
The balmy winter has many in Texas wondering if we’re in for a scorching hot summer. A lot of that will depend on how much rain the state gets from now until June. Spring rains keep the soil cooler and can lead to more moderate Texas summers.