This summer was Oklahoma's hottest on record
BY ALTHEA PETERSON World Staff Writer
Friday, September 02, 2011
9/02/11 at 6:43 AM
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Oklahoma has never seen a summer like this.
Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said the state not only had its hottest August on record, but also its hottest summer on record, breaking records set in the 1930s.
"It was significantly hot in August and it ended a significantly hot summer," McManus said. "We didn't just beat the record. We shattered it."
August's statewide average temperature, 87.7 degrees, was calculated using measurements throughout a day - ranging from the low, often in the early morning, to the high, usually in the afternoon. To formulate a statewide average, McManus said temperatures were recorded from 120 Oklahoma Mesonet sites, including at least one in each county.
Although the Mesonet system began in the 1990s, the National Weather Service records date to 1895.
Oklahoma's August and summer may also both go down as the hottest August and summer in U.S. history, based on temperature records that date back to 1895 for the 48 contiguous states.
However, Texas has also had an abnormally hot month and summer and may set the record itself when final numbers are determined, McManus said.
From a statewide perspective, he said almost every temperature record, from most days in the 100s to highest average temperatures, fell in 2011.
"The only record of note we haven't beaten was 120 degrees, the all-time high temperature in Oklahoma," McManus said. "We only got up to 115."
McManus said 2011 has something in common with previous record-setting years: extreme drought.
Without much rain relief, most of the state enters September classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as D4 for exceptional drought.
"There's a lot of the similarities in these records, all in the '30s, '50s and 1980," McManus said. "We're in the danger area once again. For the western part of the state - not a lot of change."
Scorching hot state (temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit):
115: The highest temperature recorded in Oklahoma this year, set in Hollis and Erick on June 26 and Wilburton and Wister on Aug. 3. The all-time record is 120 degrees, set five times throughout state history.
96: The new state record, set in Grandfield for most days in the 100s as of Aug. 31. The previous state record was 86 days, set in 1956 in Hollis. Altus, Hollis and Tipton have also surpassed the previous record with 94, 91 and 88 days in the 100s as of Aug. 31, respectively.
89.1: The hottest month in U.S. history for a state, set in July in Oklahoma this year. The previous record for any month, 88.1, was set in July 1954 in Oklahoma.
87.7: The hottest August in state history, which may later be confirmed as the hottest August in U.S. history, set this year in Oklahoma. The previous record for August was 87.2 degrees in 1936.
86.8: The hottest summer (June, July and August) in state history, which may later be confirmed as the hottest summer in U.S. history, set this year in Oklahoma. The previous record was 85.2 degrees set in 1934.
Source: Oklahoma Climatological Survey
Thursday's high hits 102
Tulsa had a high temperature of 102 degrees Thursday. It was also the 43rd day this year with a high temperature in the 100s.
Thursday's high 102
Thursday's low 82
Friday's forecast high 100
Friday's forecast low 75
100-degree days this summer* 43
*since summer started June 21
Original Print Headline: This summer hottest ever for Oklahoma
Althea Peterson 918-581-8361
Jorge Carranza cools off in the pool at Big Splash in Tulsa on Aug. 3. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World