November Sees Pattern Change

Oklahoma’s extended spate of warmer than normal weather—which began in early June and continued largely uninterrupted for the next five months—came to an abrupt halt on Nov. 10 following a clash with the season’s first true arctic cold front. Highs in the 70s and 80s those first 10 days of November were soon replaced with highs in the 40s and 50s, and low temperatures below freezing more often than not. Any hint of a return to the weather’s previous mild ways was quashed by recurring cold fronts throughout the rest of the month. The continual intrusions of frigid air also brought the state its first widespread snows of the season. A quick burst blanketed the central Panhandle with a couple of inches on Nov. 4, but the big show occurred on Nov. 14 across west central Oklahoma where widespread totals of 3-5 inches were reported. Localized heavier amounts were also reported with Elk City topping the totals at 7.3 inches. Lesser amounts were reported to the east, but much of the state received at least a dusting during the month. The same storm system that brought the snow on Nov. 4 produced significant severe weather in far southeast Oklahoma, including six tornadoes in McCurtain and Le Flore counties. An EF2 twister touched down near Pickens in McCurtain County and rolled a mobile home, killing one person. The most significant tornado in terms of strength was an EF4 monster that touched down across the Red River in Texas before moving into McCurtain County. Although most of the damage path in Oklahoma was at EF2 intensity, the tornado caused significant EF3 damage through Idabel along its path of 61 miles before dissipating near Eagletown. The tornado also sideswiped the Idabel Mesonet site, producing a wind gust of 108 mph. Idabel became the fifth Mesonet site to be hit by a tornado since the network’s inception in 1994, and the 108 mph gust was the fifth highest recorded by the network—tops is the 151 mph gust recorded by El Reno on May 24, 2011, in its brush with an EF5 twister. The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported at least 30 storm-related injuries from the Nov. 4 severe weather event in Bryan, Choctaw, Le Flore, and McCurtain counties.

 

The statewide average precipitation total for the month was 2.69 inches, 0.37 inches above normal and the 42ndwettest November since records began in 1895. Much of southern and western Oklahoma had a surplus for the month, but the western Panhandle and parts of central through northern Oklahoma continued with significant deficits. Totals ranged from 7.49 inches at Cloudy to Boise City’s 0.08 inches. The climatological fall statewide average finished at 6.27 inches, 2.73 inches below normal and ranked as the 36th driest September-November on record. Only two of the Mesonet’s sites recorded a surplus for the fall period—Durant and Medicine Park at 0.9 and 0.8 inches above normal, respectively. Much of the northeastern quarter of the state fell 4-7 inches below normal. The first 11 months of the year had an average total of 27.59 inches across the state, 6.66 inches below normal and ranked as the 29th driest January-November on record.

 

The statewide average temperature was 46.9 degrees, 2.5 degrees below normal and ranked as the 43rd coolest November since records began in 1895. Temperatures rose into the 70s and 80s regularly through November’s first 10 days, but were not seen again in the state until the 29th—and abruptly snuffed out once again by another arctic cold front. Burneyville registered the month’s highest reading of 84 degrees on Nov. 6, while Kenton came in with the lowest of 6 degrees on both the 19th and 30th. Climatological fall ended as the 51st warmest on record across the state at 61.5 degrees, 0.3 degrees above normal. The year was still on track to finish quite warm with a January-November average of 62.9 degrees, 0.7 degrees above normal and ranked as the 26th warmest such period on record.

 

November began with 100% of the state in at least some level of drought, but that coverage had dropped to 91% by the end of the month. The amount of the two most intense levels of drought, however—extreme and exceptional—hardly changed at all, falling from 67% to 64%. Prospects for relief in December are rather dim according to the Climate Prediction Center. Their December precipitation outlook shows increased odds for below normal precipitation across the western two-thirds of the state, especially for the western Panhandle. Their December drought outlook calls for drought to persist across all but far southeastern Oklahoma, where further improvement is expected. CPC’s December temperature outlook sees equal odds for above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures during the month.