Thankfully, Tornado Count Slows During May
Cool weather dominated a good part of May, and possibly robbed Mother Nature of the heat needed for her most exotic springtime menu item; tornadoes. There was still the normal offering of large hail, damaging winds, and flash flooding, but the twister count was below average. The National Weather Service indicated a preliminary total of 13 tornadoes for the month, well below the 1950-2019 average of 24.4, and a relatively minuscule tally compared to last May’s all-time Oklahoma monthly record of 105. The 2020 preliminary total of 33 also falls below the January-May average of 41.
The statewide average precipitation total was 5.04 inches according to the Oklahoma Mesonet, 0.22 inches above normal and ranked as the 50th wettest May since records began in 1895. It was an all too familiar rainfall pattern for Oklahoma, with roughly the southeastern half of the state receiving an abundance of moisture while the northwestern half suffered deficits. Those deficits approached 3 inches in parts of central Oklahoma, and were generally 1-2 inches elsewhere. Surpluses of 2-4 inches were common across the southeast. Stigler was 9.5 inches above normal with a state-leading 15.06 inches, although Valliant was just a hair behind at 15.05 inches. Kenton occupied a familiar spot with the state’s lowest total of 0.48 inches. The northwest versus southeast rain pattern extended from spring back to the beginning of the year. Spring ended as the 24th wettest on record with a statewide average of 13.1 inches, 1.98 inches above normal, yet the Panhandle suffered its 24th driest at 3.31 inches, 2.58 inches below normal. Spring deficits ranged from 2-4 inches across the northwest quarter, but a bit above that in Blaine and Kingfisher counties. Surpluses peaked at 8-12 inches in far eastern Oklahoma. The first five months of the year ended with a surplus of 4.01 inches, the 14th wettest January-May on record at 18.52 inches averaged statewide.
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