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Dick Faurot's Weather Blog: We May Set A Record For Tornadoes In Oklahoma

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Have mentioned on several occasions how cold the month of November was for us; in fact, it ranked in the top ten coldest Novembers on record for Tulsa. Notice the first map which is compilation of satellite data that is maintained by the University of Alabama at Huntsville. It provides a very good indication of global temperatures in the lower atmosphere as measured by satellite for the month of November. This particular depiction shows the departures from normal for the month and the very cool conditions we experienced were obviously shared by most of the rest of North America. There were a few other relative cool spots around the globe, but many more locations that were warmer than normal. In fact, the global average for the month was about 0.6 degrees F above the 30 year average. Point is that although we certainly had a chilly month, that was not necessarily the case around the rest of the world.

The next map shows the max/min temperature map across the state for today, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. We had a short thermometer and temperatures were once again cooler than normal for this time of year. Although December is still very young, it has certainly started off on the chilly side.

As is evident from the 7 day forecast on our weather page, temperatures will continue to moderate right on through the weekend with daytime highs at or perhaps a bit above normal at times and our overnight lows generally above normal. You can see the day to day variation from the forecast page, but once again I wanted to focus these comments on the longer range guidance which is beyond that 7 day time frame.

Notice the 8-14 day outlook of temperature and precipitation which continues to suggest a strong above normal temperature signal for a large part of the US, including Oklahoma. It also suggests at least some potential for showers/storms during that week long period. I mentioned yesterday the more zonal or W to E flow aloft that will be largely responsible for this milder time frame.

Since there are strong indications that temperatures will average above normal during that period and there will also be at least some potential for showers/storms, the question naturally arises regarding any severe weather possibilities. I bring this up because the preliminary statewide tornado count for 2014 is only 15 which would be a record for fewest tornadoes if that stands through the end of the month. As it now stands, the current record is 17 set in 1988.

Tornadoes do occur during the month of December in Oklahoma, but they are rare and the most ever has been only 4; a record set on several different years, most recently in 1982. The last time we had any tornadoes in December was 2010 when one occurred. In other words, the odds certainly would favor this year setting a new record for fewest tornadoes. But, the longer range guidance does suggest at least the potential for a warmer, potentially more unsettled weather pattern over the 8-14 day period of Dec 11-17. Don't misunderstand; I am certainly NOT saying there will be an outbreak of severe weather during that period. Just pointing out that it will take a very unusual December event for us not to break the record for fewest tornadoes for a calendar year. But, this is Oklahoma and stranger things have happened.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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