Zack's Weather Facts: Winter outlook

El Niño is still going strong and will roll on through early next year. We know it will enhance future rain, but by how much? FOX 7’s Zack Shields will look at that and whether El Niño will increase our chances for snow this winter.

El Niño is reaching record levels. The warming of the pacific will continue to impact our weather all the way through next spring.

This unique weather event has already influenced our rain totals this year. More than half of the months have been wetter than average. We're sitting at 57 inches, making 2015 the second wettest year on record.

We've easily surpassed previous rain totals from El Niño years. There is a good chance the rainy weather pattern rolls on through the rest of the winter as the warm pacific energizes the storm track.

We usually get five more rain days during an El Niño winter, and at the same time double the heavy rain days. With a higher frequency of cloudy, rainy days, it'll keep us cooler than average this winter.

During El Niño winters we see less in the way of very warm days, but at the same time less freezing nights. This is because with more cloudy skies, it'll trap in more warmth at night.

Since 1980, Texas sees a big increase in snowfall during El Niño winters— especially from Dallas to Amarillo.

In Austin, during the last nine El Niño winters, we've seen snow in five of them. We do see a slight increase in snow by a half inch.

The jury is still out if that will happen this winter. It's all about timing of the cold air and precipitation. Stay tuned!

Meteorologist Zack Shields can answer weather questions via email or through Twitter and Facebook.

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