The average temperature for the first six months of the year was the warmest on record for Oklahoma, and more warm conditions are likely on the way, a state climatologist said.
Between January and June, the state's average temperature was 60.1 degrees. That average temperature tops the previous record of 58.9 degrees, set in 2006, and places the state about four degrees above normal for the period, associate state climatologist Gary McManus said.
That average was driven in large part by a warmer winter than the state usually experiences, McManus said. Last winter ranked as the ninth-warmest on record in Oklahoma, with an average temperature of 41.7 degrees. Average temperature records date to 1895.
“It wasn't an extremely hot winter,” McManus said. “It just didn't get that cold.”
The pattern of warmth continued through the spring, he said. Like the winter before it, this past spring proved to be the warmest on record.
The trend goes back more than two years, he said. Of the past 27 months, 22 have been above the state's normal temperature.
McManus said he expects the trend to continue.
Rainfall below normal
In the month of June, Oklahoma received 2 inches of rain below the state average. Drought conditions are increasing across much of the eastern portion of the country, he said, and for the first time since late 2011, the entire state is now considered at least “abnormally dry,” a designation that identifies an area as one step below drought conditions.