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Wet, dry or all of the above? A look at rainfall summaries by climate division

by Bryan Painter Modified: November 1, 2013 at 10:30 am •  Published: November 1, 2013
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Two months remain on the calendar year and for the central Oklahoma region it has been the ninth wettest on records dating to 1921, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey’s Rainfall Summaries by Climate Division. The 40.06 inches is 6.86 inches of rain above the average for Jan. 1 through October’s end.

Statewide is a little different with the 32.82 inches of rain ranking as the 28th wettest.

Now a quick note, if you go back to the late 1800s those ranks are slightly different, said Gary McManus of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey: The January-October period was the 31st wettest across the state with a statewide average of 33.65 inches, 1.82 inches above normal. Central Oklahoma stands out during that time frame with an average of 41.86 inches, 8.69 inches above normal to rank as the eighth wettest on record.

But rather than looking only at the calendar year, I took a look at the Rainfall Summaries by Climate Division for different periods, using the central region and the statewide numbers as an example.

If you look at the last 60 days (Sept. 2-Oct. 31), in central Oklahoma, it was the 39th driest, 5.47 inches and 2.17 inches below normal for that time period. But the last 180 days (May 5-Oct. 31, which takes in the severe weather in May) is the 12th wettest, 27.37 inches and 4.93 inches above average.

Now statewide, the rankings for the last 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 365 days has varied from 40th driest for the last 60 days, 5.71 inches, 1.35 inches below normal, to 23rd wettest for the last 120 days (the Fourth of July-Oct.  31), 13.89 inches and 1.45 inches above normal.

Although we see the term “wettest” a lot in these charts, it’s important to remember what the situation is in other areas. For example, areas including southwest Oklahoma, portions of western Oklahoma and the Panhandle have been battling drought for more than three years.

And if you look at the last 90 days (Aug. 3-Oct. 31), that span was the 18th driest for the south central region, 6.72 inches and 4.25 inches below normal.

Also in Oklahoma weather:

A look ahead in the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office coverage area to early next week:

The next storm system to offer a chance of rain to Oklahoma and north Texas

will come as early as Monday afternoon. The chances for better more widespread rain

will occur Monday night through Tuesday. While it does appear rain will be

possible over most of the area, central and southern parts of Oklahoma and

western north Texas look to have the best chance of heavier rain.

Severe weather does not appear likely with this next system.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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