It was a year defined by too much heat and too little rain. Ironically, we are ending the year on quite an opposite note. A vast plume of moisture soaked the area with more than an inch of rain in spots. Tulsa southward to I-40 saw the heaviest totals while areas along the Oklahoma-Kansas border just saw an tenth of an inch or rain or so. Some rain totals can be seen in the attached map.
Before we head into 2013, here's a brief review of our 2012. We began the year with a waning drought in Green Country. After a meager 1.7" of snow, warmer weather took hold and we dealt with a record number of tornadoes during the month of April in Oklahoma. Severe weather season went out with a whimper (by our standards) and gave way to another very hot summer. Temperatures reached 112 º THREE days in a row as our drought intensified rapidly. Dry conditions, blistering heat, and wind gave way to devastating wildfires in early August. Over 80 square miles of the state were charred, including a large section of Creek County – their largest wildfire on record. The drought worsened throughout the fall as above-normal temperatures prevailed. After a bought of snow across southern Oklahoma Christmas Day, it began to really feel like winter in the region. Temperatures dipped to 14º the day after Christmas – the coldest temperature of the year.
The heat of the year was remarkable. Oklahoma will be very close to having the warmest year on record. The one benefit of our drought is the lack of severe weather the second half of 2012 brought. Even with today's rainfall, Tulsa still has a 12" rainfall deficit. The drought will unfortunately be a burden we carry well into 2013 as we head into the climatologically driest time of the year.
A quick note about your New Year's Eve weather: while the measurable rain ends this afternoon, drizzle will keep many roadways wet into the overnight hours. As temperatures slowly fall tonight, a few areas may see freezing drizzle briefly. Widespread travel issues are not anticipated, but a few slick spots on bridges and overpasses are possible. Use caution!
2013 will begin with dry, cold air. There's not even a chance of precipitation after tonight in the forecast. A few areas to the north of Tulsa may see a few snow flurries tomorrow, but little if anything other than clouds will be seen in the sky through the weekend.