OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – This December has been different than many Oklahomans are used to… While many of us usually assume we’ll have a winter wonderland all month long, this year has been the opposite. In reality, it’s felt a lot more like spring.
“In Oklahoma City, alone, in December, we’ve had seven days above 70 degrees,” said KFOR Meteorologist Aaron Brackett. “It really is incredible.”
Brackett said the abnormal winter season is due to La Niña, a weather pattern involving oceanic and atmospheric effects that can influence weather globally.
“What that does is it moves the Jet Stream from where it typically is this time of the year,” said Brackett. “In a lot of cases, it’s been far off to the north. So we’re enjoying some real warmth here.”
Strong winds have also been an issue, not just in Oklahoma, but in the eastern portion of the United States.
Just days ago Kentucky and seven other states we’re hit hard by numerous tornadoes- killing 88 people.
Brackett said although these devastating weather events are not typical for this time of year, it doesn’t mean seasons are changing.
“A lot of times if you’re going to have tornadoes in December, January, February they occur more in the deep south and the southeast. Then as we go into the spring that shifts a little bit farther to Oklahoma. That’s why we see ours in April and May,” said Brackett. “This is the time of the year when they see those winter-time tornadoes. Of course, that event was way out of proportion, incredibly strong for, really, anywhere in the U.S. but it doesn’t necessarily mean that things are shifting.”
Brackett said luckily, that’s not something Oklahomans need to worry about right now.
“While we do have some ingredients out there for severe weather, we’re also missing some,” said Brackett. “So it may feel pretty moist outside. It may be windy, and we’ll have a cold front coming through but we’re not going to see the magnitude of severe weather that they’re seeing out toward the east. Thankfully, we are missing some of those severe weather ingredients.”
One thing we do need to watch for, however, is fire.
“While it may feel humid outside, we have a lot of that wind and even a cold front, we’re not so concerned about severe weather,” said Brackett. “It’s actually fire concern, and in some locations across Oklahoma the drought is becoming very bad. We’ve gone without meaningful rainfall for months, and add in winds, 60-65 miles per hour, tinderbox dry fuels. Very, very critical fire concerns out there with this system.”
Despite all the weird weather Oklahoma is currently experiencing, we asked Brackett: “Will we have any typical winter weather this season at all?”
“So climatologically our coldest month is still January,” said Brackett. “So with La Nina, yes, it means that statistically we’ll have more days that are above average, but still there’s going to be many that are below and plenty of opportunity to see snow and ice in Oklahoma.”