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Agricultural News


Equal Chances for Above, Below and Near Normal Summer Precipitation and Temperatures

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:22:48 CDT

Equal Chances for Above, Below and Near Normal Summer Precipitation and Temperatures
Gary McManus, associate state climatologist, says warm temperatures and recent rains have gone a long way to relieving the drought in most areas. Record-setting spring temperatures, however, may not necessarily mean a hot summer.

Springtime rains from our wet March continued into April. The rain was not as widespread during April, however, but totals tended towards the heavy side. A swath of 3-6 inches of rain fell along the I-44 corridor from Hollis to Miami. The northwestern corner saw 2-4 inches with similar totals in south central Oklahoma. The Panhandle got into the act as well with over 3 inches falling at Hooker and Kenton. Unfortunately, other parts of the Panhandle received less than an inch. Some of the most intense rainfall was accompanied by severe weather. As many as 25 tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma during the month. The most violent was an EF-3 twister that struck Woodward, killing six and injuring many more. Hail to the size of softballs accompanied the rain as well to go along with a multitude of severe wind reports. The statewide average rainfall total was 2.61 inches through April 26, which is actually below normal by about a quarter of an inch.

The heat of March, which ended as the warmest on record for the state, continued into April. The average high temperature across the state through the 26th was 73.9 degrees, more than 2 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was more than 5 degrees above normal at 50.7 degrees. The heat peaked on the 25th when several Oklahoma Mesonet stations in southwestern Oklahoma reached triple-digit territory. Altus and Erick peaked at 105 degrees, tied for the second-highest temperature ever recorded in Oklahoma during April. The top spot is still 106 degrees at Mangum on April 12, 1072. Only two of the Mesonet's 120 stations reached the freezing mark during April, and both for less than one hour. Beaver dropped to 32 degrees for a short time on the eighth and Boise City did the same on the 16th.

The U.S. Drought Monitor still indicates the presence of persistent drought conditions in southwestern, western and northwestern Oklahoma. The Panhandle remains the hardest hit area with much of Cimarron and Texas Counties covered by extreme drought conditions. Beaver County, as well as Jackson and Tillman Counties in the southwest, remain in severe drought. Nearly 75 percent of the state is completely free of any degree of dryness according to the Drought Monitor. One year ago, 96 percent of the state was in drought or pre-drought conditions. At the start of the water year on October 1, 2011, 100 percent of the state was in some degree of drought.

The May temperature outlook from the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center indicates increased chances for above-normal temperatures across the state. With La Nina fading fast and little in the way of major indicators, the precipitation outlook gives Oklahoma equal chances for above-, below- or near-normal rainfall totals. The outlooks from the CPC are undecided on Oklahoma's upcoming summer season. Equal chances are indicated for both precipitation and temperature. Oklahoma's summers are strongly correlated with precipitation, so above-normal rainfall helps to guarantee a milder summer. Lack of rain tends to push the season to the warmer side of the scale.


   

 

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