April warmer than average in Oklahoma
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
5/01/12 at 5:08 AM
Heavy rainfall inundated parts of northeast Oklahoma Sunday, but some areas of the state were left wanting as April came to a close.
April also was warmer than normal, but only four degrees above March's record-setting average temperature.
As of Monday afternoon, 3.61 inches of rain was recorded this month in Tulsa, only 0.18 inches off of the average.
However, Bartlesville recorded 5.62 inches in April, more than 1.8 inches above normal for the month. That includes 1.3 inches that fell Sunday. Some parts of Osage and Kay counties received more than 8 inches over the weekend.
Osage County Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown said several families were rescued from their homes by boat as the water rose Monday morning. Several roads in the area were closed.
South of Tulsa, Muskogee only recorded 1.54 inches of rain in April, which is 2.25 inches below average.
Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said most of east central and southeast Oklahoma missed out on the soaking rains that benefited the northern part of the state.
"Southeastern half of the state, they simply missed out on all these thunderstorms that moved across," McManus said.
But there can be a silver lining to missing those thunderstorms, especially since there are no drought conditions in eastern Oklahoma: Missing the thunderstorms also means missing the damage they can bring.
"These locations that are getting the rainfall are also the places that are getting the bulk of the severe weather," McManus said.
An EF-3 tornado struck Woodward in the early morning of April 15, killing six and injuring 31.
McManus said April in Oklahoma was more active than usual, with 25 confirmed tornadoes. April sees an average of 11 tornadoes each year, he said. Last year was a record for April tornadoes, with 50 confirmed, according to the National Weather Service.
However, April is the second most-active month for severe weather on average.
"May is our severe weather hot spot," McManus said. An average of 22 tornadoes are reported in May, according to weather service statistics.
April is set to be about 5 degrees above the average temperature for the month in Tulsa.
March was 10 degrees above normal and was the warmest March on record.
With April's warm trend included, Oklahoma is on track to have the highest average springtime temperature on record this year, McManus said.
One of the more remarkable facts from April's data was how few places reported temperatures below freezing during the month, McManus said. Only two Oklahoma Mesonet stations reached 32 degrees: Beaver on April 8 and Boise City on April 16.
"That's extremely out of the ordinary," McManus said. "It hasn't happened very often at all."
In Tulsa, it's less extraordinary: The average last freeze date is March 29. However, the last time Tulsa was at 32 degrees was March 10.
Original Print Headline: April delivered rain, heat and tornadoes
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Anthony West, 3, plays in the Tulsa Drillers splash pad during Monday afternoon's game. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World