Earlier this month, we lamented the fact that the hottest summer on record in Oklahoma had been followed by the warmest spring — March was the warmest on record, May among the warmest and driest ever. “We thought we might be out of the weather woods,” we wrote. “Clearly we're not.”
That remains the case. However, there is some weather news worth cheering — namely that in terms of 100-degree days, we're already money ahead compared with last year.
Oklahoma City had a record 63 days with triple-digit temperatures in 2011 (the previous record was 50). The first of those occurred June 14. This year on June 14, the high temperature was 91, which was our seventh 90-degree day of the year. At the same point last year, we'd broken 90 two dozen times. The city-area forecast for this week is for highs in the upper 80s and low 90s, climbing into the mid-90s by the weekend. That's plenty warm, but it doesn't compare to last year's blast furnace conditions.
Last year's drought contributed to the 100-degree bonanza — once we got to 100, we stayed there or close to it. Oklahoma City hit 100 degrees 11 times in the final 17 days of June. With any luck, we won't do that even once in June this year. If that's the case, we'll credit the above-normal precipitation year to date. When things dry out, the heat goes up, as our friends in southwestern Oklahoma can attest. That corner of the state remains in a drought; as of Friday, Altus had hit 100 degrees 13 times. But again, it could be worse — that's well below last year's total, when tiny Grandfield ended up with a ridiculous 101 days of triple-digit heat.
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