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La Nina’s Influence Continues for Oklahoma

La Nina’s Influence Continues for Oklahoma
Gary McManus
Associate State Climatologist
Oklahoma Climatological Survey

The mild and dry weather Oklahoma experienced through the first two months of fall continued into November, thanks in large part to La Nina’s influence. The climate phenomenon, signaled by cooler-than-normal waters in the equatorial pacific and global disruptions of weather patterns, brings an increased chance for mild and dry weather throughout the southern one-third of the United States, included Oklahoma. The effects of La Nina are reflected in the state’s temperature and rainfall statistics for the three months of climatological fall, September-November.

According to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, Oklahoma’s Weather Network, the statewide average temperature during November finished 1.5 degrees above normal to rank as the 47th warmest since records began in 1895. Average high temperatures across the state were 2.8 degrees above normal while average lows were a bit tamer at 0.5 degrees above normal. Parts of central and southern Oklahoma were quite warm at more than 4 degrees above normal. Oklahoma City was 2.2 degrees above normal for the month with an average temperature of 51.2 degrees. The September-November statewide average temperature finished at 62.1 degrees, 1.5 degrees above normal, to rank as the 35th warmest fall season on record.

The Mesonet’s precipitation gauges recorded an average of 1.91 inches across the state, 0.91 inches below normal. While that is certainly dry compared to the last 30 Novembers, it is only the 63rd driest since 1895.  The northwestern quarter of the state had a good soaking of 2-3 inches during the month, but the remainder of the state remained significantly dry with 20-60 percent of normal rainfall. The statewide average rainfall total for fall was 7.64 inches, 2.37 inches below normal to rank as the 51st driest.

Despite November’s mild and dry weather, the extremes Oklahoma is well known for still occurred. High temperatures rose into the 70s and 80s late in the month with Waurika recording 85 degrees on the 24th ahead of a powerful cold front. The following morning’s low temperature at Waurika fell to a frigid 27 degrees. Boise City and Goodwell bottomed out at a bone-chilling 8 degrees on that same day. Miami recorded the most precipitation during the month with 4.31 inches while Boise City had less than a gulp of water at 0.01 inches.

The latest outlooks for December from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center continue to indicate an increased chance for warm and dry conditions across the western two-thirds of the state.