A Tale Of Two Aprils

Monday, May 1st 2017, 7:44 pm
By: News On 6

Even by Oklahoma standards, the month of April was unusual.  To begin with, the month as a whole was the wettest on record for NE OK, including Tulsa, which shattered the old record of 9.33” set in 2008 with a total this time around of 10.44”.  Statewide, it was the 3rd wettest on record and the map has the statewide totals, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which includes snowfall in the Panhandle.  Boise City in the western Panhandle had 12” of snow over the weekend, but that is not a record as they also recorded 12” of snow back on May 3, 1978.


Interestingly, almost all of that rain fell in the last two weeks of the month as April started out dry and warm.  In fact, the month started with 78% of the state in drought and for Tulsa, the first two weeks averaged almost 6 degrees warmer than normal.  Needless to say, the second two weeks changed all that as we have gone from drought to flood and also very cool.  Temperatures over the second two weeks of the month averaged almost 3 degrees cooler than normal and the rainfall amounts were the highest ever for those two weeks in April here in Tulsa.  So, the wettest April on record was almost entirely due to the extreme rains that occurred during the last half of the month, in particular 4/21 & 4/29 and the total of 3.19” on the 21st set a daily record.  Notice the rains over the course of the weekend were once again extreme and have contributed to the ongoing flooding.  By the way, here is a link to lake levels around the state.  Also, the month ended up averaging slightly more than 2 degrees warmer than normal and more than 6.5" wetter than normal.


Obviously, May is starting off on the cool side with the brisk NW winds holding temperatures well below normal again today.  So far, the max/min has been 71/43 and here is a link to the normal values for this time of year.  By the way, early May here in Tulsa can be rather interesting as well as our latest last freeze occurred on May 2 back in 1909 and our latest snowfall was a trace on May 2, 2013. 

That is not to say we are expecting anything like that for tomorrow but it will start off rather cool.  Our winds will be quickly subsiding after sunset and becoming light and southerly by morning.  Our skies will be clear so temperatures will fall off rather quickly this evening, bottoming out in the upper 40s to near 50 by sunrise.

Tuesday will be warmer, but another boundary will be moving into the state shifting our winds back to a more E/NE direction by afternoon as this next front stalls out once again in NE OK.  Clouds will be on the increase during the day, but we should still make it well into the 70s for a daytime high.  Another storm system aloft will then be approaching from the NW Tuesday night spreading another round of showers/storms across the area.  This does not look to be a significant severe weather maker, but there could be some hail and gusty winds with the heavier storms. 

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This system will be moving through more quickly than the last one with showers/storms arriving around the midnight hour and should be moving out of the more eastern counties Wednesday afternoon.  Even so, there will be the potential for an inch or two of rain for some as you can see on the 2 day QPF map.


Gusty northerly winds behind this system together with overcast skies will make Wednesday a raw day with temperatures struggling to get much above 60 for a daytime high.  Lingering clouds and perhaps a few sprinkles for the more eastern counties into the day Thursday together with brisk northerly winds will also keep temperatures well below normal as you can see on our forecast page.

After that, our winds will finally return to a more southerly direction as we head into the weekend and together with more sunshine should start a warming trend.  Also, this weekend into early next week looks to be a rather stable period allowing us to at least start to dry out.

However, the 8-14 day outlook suggests temperatures on average will trend near to below normal again and it also looks like another unsettled pattern for showers/storms as we head into that second week of May.  Keep in mind, May is normally our wettest month of the year and also has the highest likelihood of tornadoes.



So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot