La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, as compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatues in the equatorial Pacific. La Niña is also sometimes called El Viejo.
This year we are in a weak La Niña weather pattern that is expected to be short lived (possibly through January). According to the NOAA National Weather Service, the current seasonal outlook for winter 2016-17 favors above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation across much of the southern tier of the U.S., and below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation in portions of the northern tier of the U.S.
So what does this mean for North Texas? This outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures and lower than average precipitation for our area through this winter. This is not necessarily good news for areas that are experiencing drought. Lower than average precipitation means that drought conditions will remain and in some cases worsen.
*precipitation image from NOAA