El Niño breaks its record


This year’s El Niño is the strongest ever recorded. Surface water temperature in the central Pacific Ocean is significantly higher than the 1997–98 previous record.

November precipitation in Fort Stockton was over six times the normal for the month. The airport weather station recorded 3.51 inches of rainfall last month. All but one inch of that fell in a three-day storm event that started Thanksgiving morning. Outlying ranches reported up to 4 inches of rain from that storm system.

November’s total exceeded October’s total (which was nearly twice its average), although November’s average is less than a third that of October’s.

With December yet to go, 2015 annual precipitation here stands at 22.39 inches, already the wettest year since 2004 (25.94 inches). With this region’s rainfall effects of El Niño projected to continue and possibly increase into the winter, precipitation is on track to exceed that of any year since 1941, when 28.14 inches fell.

Annual precipitation here has averaged 14.76 inches over the last 34 years.

Rainfall this year was uneven. June through September saw less than half the normal rain. August normally receives over six times the 0.35 inch that fell in that month this year.