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November’s Eventful Weather

Published: Monday, December 3, 2018

Much of Oklahoma’s weather was downright boring during November – cold and dry with a few warm days in between. Despite that monotony, Mother Nature still managed to sneak in a couple of stretches of exciting weather. The first bout struck on the 12th with Oklahoma’s first significant winter storm of the season. Snow fell across the northwestern half of the state and dropped as much as 5 inches of snow. While most of it melted as it fell, enough accumulated across the far northwest to prompt a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service (NWS). The arctic blast that accompanied the snow plunged temperatures into the teens and twenties the next morning, and wind chills fell into the single digits. The bigger show came on November’s final day, however. A powerful storm system funneled unusually warm, moist air into the state from the south. A round of storms erupted across western Oklahoma and quickly became severe. Hail was the main hazard west of Interstate 35, but the storms were more intense to the east. Numerous instances of wind damage were reported east of I-35, along with at least two confirmed tornadoes from a single long-lived supercell. The first tornado, rated EF-1, touched down near Webbers Falls to northeast of Gore, damaging trees, farm equipment and barns. The second twister, a more powerful EF-2 tornado, traveled along the eastern shore of Lake Tenkiller into the outskirts of Cookson, destroying numerous homes, boat docks, and airplane hangars.


The month finished as the 11th coldest November on record with a statewide average of 44.5 degrees, 4.8 degrees below normal. Those records began in 1895. The Mesonet site at Eva recorded the month’s lowest temperature of 7 degrees on the 13th. November’s highest reading was 82 degrees at Hollis on the 29th. Climatological fall (August-November) ranked as 26th coolest with a statewide average of 59.5 degrees, 1.3 degrees below normal. The first 11 months of the year were 0.3 degrees below normal, the 46th warmest January-November on record.


Following three consecutive months of wetter than normal conditions, Oklahoma finally saw its luck turn sour during November. The August-October statewide average precipitation total of 16.27 inches ranked as the fifth wettest such period on record, more than 9 inches above normal. Contrast that with November, which finished with a statewide average of 0.94 inches, 1.57 inches below normal. That ranked the month as the 32nd driest November on record. Thirteen of the Mesonet’s 120 stations recorded a quarter-inch or less, and another 25 failed to reach the half-inch mark. Boise City and Kenton shared the lowest total at 0.09 inches. Broken Bow led the state with 3.88 inches. Fall ended on the wet side with a statewide average of 12.93 inches, 3.35 inches above normal and ranked as the 10th wettest autumn on record. The year remains on track to finish well above normal with a January-November average of 36.98 inches, the 23rdwettest such period with a surplus of 2.54 inches.


While drought didn’t increase substantially during the month, its potential to do so in the future certainly did. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the percentage of the state considered in drought increased slightly from 1.6 percent to 3.27 percent through November. The percentage considered “Abnormally Dry,” a drought precursor, jumped from 6 percent to 15 percent over the same period. The abundant rains during the first two months of fall reduced drought in the state dramatically, from 27 percent in early September to 3.27 percent at the end of November. The December outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) saw increased odds for above normal temperatures across the entire state, as well as above normal precipitation for all but the Panhandle. Their December Drought Outlook expected the drought areas across northeastern Oklahoma to persist through the month, but no additional development was anticipated.