It's hard to believe this time last year we were in the beginning stages of some record-breaking summer heat. The drought was already bad in western Oklahoma and was advancing eastward. What's even harder to believe is that technically, as of May 29, 2012, MORE of the state of Oklahoma is actually under a drought than May 31, 2011. However, in 2012, most of the state is classified under "Abnormally Dry" rather than "Severe," "Extreme," and "Exceptional." The drought was at its worst in early October 2011 before some much-needed Autumn rain helped reduce those numbers by year's end. Check out the drought maps linked on the side of the blog. The 2012 map is BEFORE the 6+ inches of rain received in parts of northeast Oklahoma over the past couple of days.
The total amount of rain for Oklahoma City in 2011 was 30.37 inches, just a hair below normal. The last 3-4 months of 2011 made up for an abnormally dry and hot summer. By the end of May 2011, Oklahoma City had 12.42 inches of rain. By the end of May 2012, Oklahoma City had already received 17.63 inches of rain, which is over 5 inches more than 2011.
And let's not forget the difference a year makes when it comes to severe weather. The months of April and May 2011 had a total of 96 tornadoes, with 50 of those occurring in April, setting the record. 2012? April was pretty active (43 tornadoes) but May decided to skip tornado season with only 2 reported tornadoes, both east of I-35. 2005 was the last year where less tornadoes were reported, and that was 0.
June 2012 is already starting out better than it did in 2011. Through the first four days, we're average a temperature of 83.2 in OKC, juuuuust under our climatological normal. Through the first four days of June 2011, we averaged 93 degrees in OKC. While I think this summer will still be hot, I do not think it will be a 2011 repeat. Lots of signs already pointing to a relatively easier summer to handle.
June 14 was OKC's first 100 degree day last year. Any guesses as to when we'll reach it this year?