Though this year’s El Niño is now predicted to be a weak one, it still spells more a chance of a wet, cool winter for most of Texas rather than a dry one, according to the Texas State Climatologist.

El Niño development stalled out, but wet winter still predictedEl Niño refers to warmer-than-average ocean water temperatures off the Pacific coast of South America, said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist, College Station. A moderate to strong El Niño usually means more moisture to parts of the Southwest and Southeast during the late fall and winter. El Niño translates as “The Boy Child,” because it usually peaks about the time of Christmas.

“We’ve been waiting for El Niño to develop for about six months now, and it still hasn’t quite happened,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “Temperatures in the tropical Pacific have been running above normal for most of the period, and there’s still a great deal of warm water beneath the surface. So the odds still favor at least a weak El Niño developing over the next couple of months and lasting through most of the winter.”