Oklahoma weather report: June sees summer swoon

Oklahoma Climatological Survey
Rain turns a normal run into an epic one.

A slow start to summer gave way to sweltering heat through the middle of June before once again succumbing to mild, wet weather to end the month.

There were occasional bouts with severe weather—mostly high winds and large hail—although flooding was a common concern as well. Winds of up to 75 mph hit Snyder overnight on June 7, producing widespread damage to the town. The Oklahoma Mesonet site at Boise City measured winds in excess of 65 mph for 25 consecutive minutes the evening of June 12. Several homes reported significant roof damage, and the high school gym’s roof was partially blown off. Nearly 100 power poles were destroyed between Balko and Elmwood the evening of the 24th due to estimated winds of up to 95 mph. The Mesonet site at Hooker measured a wind gust of 85 mph on the 25th associated with severe storms in the area that toppled trucks on local highways. Unusually heavy rains along the Interstate-44 corridor June 25-30 produced widespread totals of 6-8 inches, and more than a foot of rain in some locations. A volunteer observer near Lawton reported 12.32 inches of rain during that period, and 14.29 inches for the month’s highest total. Heavy downpours on the 27th inundated areas of central Oklahoma with flash flooding, resulting in numerous water rescues from stalled vehicles.

The statewide average rainfall total was 4.97 inches according to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet. That ranked the month as the 34th wettest June since records began in 1895, 0.45 inches above normal. The extreme wet conditions along the I-44 corridor, with totals 4-6 inches above normal, were countered by dry weather that plagued much of the rest of the state. The far southeast was also considerably wetter than normal with surpluses of 6-8 inches. Cloudy led the Mesonet sites with 12.62 inches of rain during the month, but the central Oklahoma stations at Minco and Spencer were close behind with 11.46 and 11.36 inches, respectively. Thirty-nine of the Mesonet’s 120 sites recorded at least 6 inches of rain during June. Kenton reported 1.2 inches for the month’s lowest total. Another seven sites also recorded less than 2 inches. The first six months of the year ended 0.83 inches above normal with a statewide average of 19.86 inches, the 39th wettest January-June period on record for Oklahoma.

The statewide average temperature still managed to come out on the warm side during June, despite the extended mild weather that bookended the month. The statewide average finished at 77.1 degrees, 0.6 degrees above normal, and ranked as the 59th warmest June on record. Much of the middle of the month was dominated by oppressively hot weather, fueled by high humidity. The Mesonet sites at Eva and Goodwell recorded June’s highest readings of 107 degrees on the 23rd, while Boise City reported the lowest temperature of 47 degrees on June 2. Heat index values soared into the low 110s during June’s second week, topping out at 113 degrees on the 11th. The Mesonet’s 120 sites reported heat index values of at least 105 degrees 369 times during the month, but none coming before June 9 or after June 25. The first six months of the year fell 1.3 degrees below normal with a statewide average of 54.5 degrees, the 36th coolest such period on record.

Drought coverage across Oklahoma continued to shrink during June, decreasing from 8 percent of the state in late May to less than 2 percent at the beginning of July. Prospects for complete removal from the state appear favorable according to the July outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC). Increased odds for above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures cover virtually the entire state, with even greater chances of below normal temperatures across the southern two-thirds of Oklahoma. The possible reduction in heat and increase in moisture lends confidence in complete drought removal across the state by the end of July, as depicted in CPC’s monthly drought outlook.