With a relatively quiet weather pattern for a couple of days before the next arctic blast arrives over the course of the weekend, thought I would take a more in-depth look back at the calendar year of 2013 and some of the more interesting events that took place.
For Tulsa, as has been mentioned before, it was a cool year and tied for 12th coolest on record with records going back to 1905. Only the months of Jan, Jun, and Sep were warmer than normal. That in and of itself is not particularly unusual, but in comparison to the record warmest year of 2012 it was quite a contrast. In fact, the difference in the average temperature of those two years was greater than 5 degrees which is the greatest year-to-year temperature change on record, and that is remarkable.
Fortunately, the drought was not as bad for the eastern side of the state, but we still ended the year one standard deviation below normal for those of you that have a statistical inclination. In terms of a number, we were nearly 8" on the dry side for the annual total which now makes four consecutive years of below normal precipitation. When you add it all up, the total deficit over the course of those four years is almost 36" which is close to our normal annual precipitation. In other words, over the course of the last 4 years we have missed out on approximately one year's worth of moisture.
Of course, much of our moisture comes from storms and the past year was a busy one for severe weather. But, as is often the case the bulk of it occurred during a rather short window of time. The preliminary total number of tornadoes statewide stands at 79 which is subject to revision. But, 56 of those occurred between May 19-31, one of which was rated as a rare EF5 at Moore, OK. By the way, the average annual number of tornadoes statewide is in the mid 50s, so that period in May was basically responsible for an entire year's worth of tornadoes.
Now, a look ahead. Very cold air has settled over the state today, but will be quickly sliding eastward tonight and Friday. However, with light winds and fair skies overnight, look for temperatures to plummet back into the lower teens after only moderating to near the freezing mark this afternoon. A return to southerly winds Friday and into the day Saturday will result in a short-lived warming trend with highs in the 40s both days.
Even colder air is still on schedule to push across the state later Saturday with some of the coldest conditions of the season expected into early next week. Morning lows should be in the single digits and daytime highs only in the teens or low 20s. Climatologically speaking, this is normally our coldest time of the year anyway and it certainly looks that will be the case this time.
Also, some wintry weather will accompany this cold surge and the data coming in today is a little more bullish on our snow prospects. This will be another quick hitting system but from Saturday night into Sunday morning a dusting to perhaps an inch or two of snow looks possible, primarily for the more N and NE counties.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.