OKLAHOMA CITY – While the month of May is behind us, residents across the state are still cleaning up the mess left behind by Mother Nature.
According to reports from the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, at least six people were killed and 118 others were injured in severe weather this spring.
Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service office in Norman indicate that there were at least 61 tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May. However, that number is expected to rise as additional damage is investigated.
Of those 61 tornadoes, eight were considered ‘strong’ on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Combined with the 22 confirmed tornado touchdowns in April, the 2019 total stands at 83.
Flooding was the most widespread and damaging of the severe weather to occur in May. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations were issued as several communities across the state worried about the overflowing water.
According to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the statewide average rainfall total was 10.48 inches, 5.66 inches above normal to rank as the third wettest May since records began in 1895. The total also earned fourth place on the list of wettest calendar months in Oklahoma.
The excessive rains and associated cloudiness kept high temperatures 2-3 degrees below normal, although the surge of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico had the opposite impact on low temperatures. The clouds and rain won out, however, and the statewide average temperature finished at 66.7 degrees, 1.5 degrees below normal to rank as the 34th coolest May on record.
Now, officials warn that the wet weather may continue.
The June precipitation and temperature outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center indicate that temperatures may be below normal, while precipitation will be above normal for the state.