What A Difference A Year Makes: January 2012 Much Calmer Than Last Year
OKLAHOMA CITY - So far the winter season has been gentle to the Sooner State. In Oklahoma City, December finished the month 0.5°F above the average temperature for the month with January's running departure from normal at 3.8°F. It has been mild to say the least! Will Roger's World Airport has only received a trace of an inch of snow in the past two months. We even had that healthy dose of rain back on January 24, 2012, bringing our yearly rainfall total to 2.23 inches.
January 2011 wasn't that much different than the January of present. January 2011 was only -0.7°F cooler than the average monthly temperature, and scored a minimal snowfall total of 0.7 inches. This is where the similarities between the two months stop, and it stops cold.
On the night of January 31, 2011 through the following day of February 1, 2011, a historic blizzard walloped the state. For 24 hours, Oklahoma was pelted by thunder-sleet, lashed by 50 to 60 mph wind gusts, frozen in wind chills that dropped below -25°F, and inundated by more than 20 inches of snow across northeastern portions of the state.
The official snowfall observation for the event at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City was 12.1 inches; 0.3 inches falling during the late hours of January 31 and the remaining 11.8 inches on February 1. The latter total broke the calendar day record, which was previously 5.5 inches set in 1913. The total also broke the all-time February daily snowfall record, which was previously 6.5 inches set in 1987. What's more impressive is the 12.1-inch total tied February 5 - 7, 1988, for the second-highest snowfall for Oklahoma City. In northeastern Oklahoma, Tulsa recorded 14 inches of snow, breaking numerous calendar day, month and year snowfall totals from a single storm.
Four people lost their lives across the state as a result of the winter storm. One person died in Moore, and three more in Miami after their SUV plunged into the Spring River from Interstate 44 in the aftermath of the storm on February 3, 2011.
Winter's wrath wasn't finished with Oklahoma. A little over a week later, another record snowstorm affected the state with most of the impact felt across northeastern Oklahoma. The February 8 - 9 snowstorm claimed the all-time Oklahoma record snowfall during a 24-hour period, and record minimum temperature. Spavinaw measured 27 inches of new snow within a 24-hour period, breaking the previous Oklahoma record of 26 inches measured in Woodward and Freedom during the March 28, 2009 blizzard. Brutally cold conditions followed in the wake of the storm. Nowata recorded a minimum temperature of -31°F, besting the previous record of -27°F set most recently in Guthrie on January 4, 1947.