If you’ve ever lived in Texas you know one thing is certain in October – the weather is uncertain. It could still be warm enough to wear shorts and keep the AC running, or the cold weather could move in quickly and catch people off guard. You just never know what’s going to happen in October when you’re in Texas, and abnormal weather patterns are making it even more unpredictable these days.
The single biggest reason for the unpredictable weather in Texas is geography. There are mountain ranges on both sides of the state – the Rockies to the west and the Appalachians to the east. It channels cold air from Canada down to Texas, but there’s also warm air coming off the Gulf of Mexico. It creates an effect where cold air and warm air are pushing against each other, and that means anything can happen with the weather when the seasons are changing.
As an energy consumer the unpredictably can be difficult to deal with. Should you go ahead and adjust the programmable thermostat for winter? Will high temps strain your air conditioner that’s already been constantly running for months?
There’s no way to forecast what exactly will happen this October with the weather. The best thing Texans can do is be prepared for basically anything. Here’s how!
Weatherize Before Winter Comes
No matter what the weather does, it will feel better inside your home if you’ve already weatherized for the winter. Summer weatherization is something we’ve covered before with good reason – it makes a difference on your energy bills. Plus, it doesn’t take much effort or money to do. There are even programs that can help cover the cost for some energy consumers.
Winter weatherization is just as important in terms of preparing for unpredictable weather and reducing energy consumption. Many of the same weatherization tips apply in the winter that are used in the summer:
- Put weatherstripping around all exterior doors.
- Install door sweeps.
- Caulk up cracks and crevices around the windows.
- Turn the ceiling fans to the winter setting (blades rotating clockwise).
- Clean out or change the furnace air filters.
- Clean out the gutters and cut back vegetation that’s near the roof or foundation.
- Insulate around water pipes.
Taking the steps above can help protect your home from the outside elements and reduce the need to heat or cool your home so you use less energy no matter what the weather is like.
Be Ready for Late Season Hurricanes on the Coast and Inland
The growing threat of hurricanes is another way the weather has become more unpredictable for Texans during October. The hurricane season runs all the way through November, and Texas has a long history of hurricanes. Even if the Texas coast isn’t directly hit, a hurricane or tropical storm anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico could bring hard rain and wind.
The 2017 and 2021 hurricane seasons were active and caused major damage in Texas. In 2022 things were fairly calm, but you never know what can happen out in the Atlantic Ocean. We encourage all Texans to check out our hurricane preparedness supplies checklist so you’re ready for a storm. There’s also information on how inland areas can prepare for hurricanes since hurricanes can impact cities hundreds of miles from the coast.
Keep an Eye on What Local Meteorologist Forecast & Weather Patterns
Technology has helped meteorologists make more accurate forecasts about the weather, but predictions can only be made about a week in advance. During unpredictable Octobers it helps to keep an eye on what the local meteorologists are predicting for the week ahead. They’ll have a pretty accurate estimate of what to expect and may even have advice on how you can prepare for the weather that’s headed your way.
Something to pay particular attention to is whether El Niño or La Niña conditions will be a factor. El Niño and La Niña are terms used to refer to the warming and cooling of Pacific Ocean waters. When the Pacific is much warmer than usual it creates El Niño conditions, and when it’s much cooler it’s considered La Niña. Either one can have a significant impact on weather patterns and climate throughout the year.
In Texas, particularly in the northern parts of the state, El Niño or La Niña impact fall and winter weather. During El Niño periods it tends to be wetter and colder. But when it’s La Niña, weather conditions are usually drier and warmer.
The Arctic Express is another thing to watch out for during fall when winter is approaching because of the geography in Texas. When super cold air masses form in Alaska and Canada it can send a shot of frigid weather further south. The jet stream of cold air can travel down the central part of the U.S., sweeping across Texas and quickly cooling things off.
Spark Energy can help you prepare for an unpredictable October with fixed rate energy plans that make bills more predictable. Getting an energy plan lined up before winter means there’s one less thing to worry about as the seasons change.
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