NORMAN — Recent rains in central Oklahoma may help ease the sting of summer, a local climatologist said.
July is the fourth-driest month in Oklahoma, and it was living up to that reputation until the weekend.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, the Oklahoma Mesonet weather network station in Kingfisher had recorded 3.3 inches of rain, while Norman had received 2.9 inches, and the site in west Oklahoma City had measured 2.8 inches. Those were among the rainfall leaders since Saturday.
Going into Monday, the statewide daily average temperature for July 1-14, from the Oklahoma Mesonet was 80.2 degrees, 0.7 degrees below normal.
Oklahoma City's official high temperature Monday at Will Rogers World Airport was 78 degrees.
The average high for July 15 is 94 degrees.
“We have really gotten lucky with this little summertime storm system,” said Gary McManus, of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.
“The moisture it brings can mean a much milder summer from this point thanks to the additional soil moisture. We should see more green after this, which will also help keep those extreme summer temperatures down a bit.
“It can still get hot ... it is summertime in Oklahoma, after all. But this might have saved part of the state from some of that misery.”
The statewide rainfall average for July is 2.74 inches, McManus said.
By midafternoon Monday, some portions of the state had received 1 to more than 3 inches of rain since the weekend.
Conditions were getting dry again across all of Oklahoma, and for some, it marked a continuation of drought back to October 2010, McManus said.
“So anybody getting any rainfall will find it to be of great benefit,” McManus said Monday afternoon.
“It had been over three weeks since we had a good widespread rain, so even those areas across central and east-central Oklahoma had started to head back toward drought once again, but of particular concern were north-central and southern Oklahoma.
“And some of those areas still have not seen much rainfall from the current system. Far western and far eastern Oklahoma have generally had less than a half of an inch thus far.”
The current upper-level low pressure system bringing us this cool, wet weather formed along the East Coast and traveled west toward Oklahoma, McManus said.
“Normally, we see storm systems form to the west and head east,” he said. “The fact that it is summer makes it even more unusual.”
Often this time of year Oklahoma is under a large area of high pressure, known as a “heat dome.”
Rains are expected to continue, but taper off, into Wednesday, said Erin Maxwell of the National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office. There is a slight chance of precipitation Thursday.
Far western Oklahoma still needs a lot of rain, McManus said.
“They have been in significant drought for about three years now,” he said.
The little they have received from this system hasn't been enough to kill the drought, McManus added.
“They could certainly put a dent in it if they can squeeze a bit more out in the next few days,” McManus said. “Northeastern and southeastern Oklahoma are sliding back toward drought, and they haven't seen much rain with this system either. Central Oklahoma up and down the I-35 corridor seems to be doing well, with some exceptions.”