Oklahoma Mesonet: Rainfall improves Oklahoma’s drought levels

OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials with the Oklahoma Mesonet have released preliminary data detailing the state’s wild weather over the past few months.

The statewide average rainfall total for August was 5.44 inches, 2.49 inches above normal, making it the eighth wettest August since records began in 1895.

Oklahoma Mesonet officials say surpluses ran from two to four inches across northwestern Oklahoma to more than 10 inches across the northeastern quarter of the state.

Northeastern Oklahoma experienced its wettest August on record with an average of 8.78 inches, 5.54 inches above normal.

Oklahoma’s climatological summer, June through August, ended as the 30th wettest on record at 12.14 inches, 1.79 inches above normal.

The northeast also experienced its wettest January-August on record at 47.46 inches, 18.57 inches above normal.

Among the rainfall, there were also tornadoes.

Two confirmed twisters last month, one in NW Edmond and another in Beaver County, brought Oklahoma’s 2019 total to at least 138, the second-highest count since accurate records began in 1950. The highest total of 145 tornadoes occurred in 1999.

Following the heavy rainfall, Oklahoma’s temperatures soared.

The statewide average temperature was 81.8 degrees, a degree above normal to rank as the 46th warmest August on record. Drought-stricken western Oklahoma was three to four degrees above normal, while the rainy northeast was two to four degrees below normal.

Officials say the summer was a bit mild at 0.3 degrees below normal.

During August, the Mesonet’s 120 sites reached a heat index of at least 115 degrees 45 times.

Oklahoma’s drought coverage grew from six percent at the end of July to nearly 24 percent by August 20, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The total coverage decreased to about 18 percent by the end of the month, but increased in the southwestern corner of the state.

What should Oklahomans expect for September?

According to the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook, there are increased odds of above-normal precipitation across the northwestern half of the state, but equal chances for above-, below-, or near-normal rainfall in the remainder of Oklahoma. Equal odds were also indicated across the entire state for temperature.

CPC’s September drought outlook shows drought persisting in south-central Oklahoma, but some improvement is expected farther to the west.

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