My 2014 Rainfall So Far Matches 2011....

Okiedawn OK Zone 7April 7, 2014

Despite the fact that it rained last night and today, our rainfall has been pretty pitiful this year. For weeks now, one thought has been running through my mind and that thought is "this is just like the winter/spring of 2011".

I was starting to think that maybe I was imagining it. However, every time I put a trowel or a shovel in the garden soil, what I found was an almost total lack of moisture in the top 7 or 8" or soil. I had to go down 8-9" to hit moist soil.

So, with that "2011" in my head as an analog year, I went to the OK Mesonet and researched my rainfall totals for January-March 2011 and January-March 2014. What I found was a bit disturbing. The rainfall for the first three months of 2011 was 2.94" and the rainfall for the first three months of 2014 was a tiny bit higher at 3.01". That's discouraging.

Of course, just because this year's rainfall for January through March so closely resembles that of 2011 really doesn't mean anything. A foot of rain could fall this month or next or whatever and things could be completely different. It's just that the resemblance between the two years' rainfall makes me feel slightly uneasy.

My county's average rainfall for January through March runs just a little over 7", but we've had below-average rainfall for the period of Jan-Mar for 3 of the last 4 years, and it never is good to go into planting season with the soil so dry.

I do not want another 2011, and I'm not saying I think 2014 will be just like 2011. However, if my April 2014 rainfall is very similar to 2011's, I might start thinking it is more than a strange coincidence.

We have had almost an inch of rain in the last day and a half, so maybe the April rainfall will occur early and often and will make for the deficit from January through March.


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My home location is doing well. My soil is only 2-3 foot deep but it is totally saturated and we have had two good rains recently. The farm had a 1.1 inch rain a month ago but is less than 3 inches total for the year. Not a problem if next week brings good rain. Looks like a cold wet few days next week.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:52AM
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We are still listed as abnormally dry, but I have more moisture than I need. I planted spinach, kale, turnips, radishes and beets without working the soil. The soil was too wet to work. The soil that I was able to work really looks good, it was fluffed up and soaked up a lot of rain.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:52AM
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This year is pretty comparable to 2011. We didn't get any rain in January in either years. Through April 6, 2011, we had had 0.60" of rain and this year we're at 1.02". Our 1st quarter average is much lower than yours, though. It's 3.72", so we're technically doing better than you are. Our April average is a little over 2 inches and it would be really nice if we could get more than that. We didn't get even a tenth of an inch from the storms the last few days, so it's not starting out well.

Temperature-wise, this year is much better than 2011, though. A lot of what made 2011 so terrible is that it wasn't raining AND it was so hot. Our first day over 100 degrees in 2011 was April 3 and it stayed 90+ for most of the month (and rest of the summer). We've had our first 90 degree day, but that's all it was: 90. And I don't see a day over 90 in the 10 day forecast either. Most days aren't even close. This would be the best spring ever if it would rain.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Scott, I'm glad you have good soil moisture for the pecan trees. I have good deep soil moisture for tree roots. It is all the tiny little emerging seedlings that have been struggling in dry soil. We got 0.9" of rain over the weekend, so the soil is nice and muddy right now. It was nice to get rainfall that was measurable in tenths of an inch instead of hundredths. A few weeks back we had a 1.6" rainfall that really perked up the onions. After that rainfall, everything really began to perk up and green up, making me feel like our chance of having a massive wildfire (at least in the southern 2/3's of our county) is less and less every day. It is nice to see green instead of brown out in the fields. With lambs, calves and colts in the fields, it actually feels like spring--and we haven't even hit 90 degrees yet, though we made it to 89 a couple of days back.

Larry, It is amazing how much rain you get sometimes. I do know, however, that too much rain at the wrong time is as big of a problem as too little. Actually, it probably is worse to have too much. You can't do anything to remove excess moisture if your soil is too wet, but if it is too dry, all you have to do is water. I just hate to have to water this early in spring. Since it rained this weekend, I guess I won't have to.

Leslie, You know, the last thing we need is drought like we had in 2011--or in 2012--and I hated to even mention the similarity in the rainfall here between this year and that year but it was so similar that I found it hard to ignore.

The odd think I remember about 2011 is that after January, February and March were way too dry, then April and May were decently moist and I thought it was going to be a typical year. Of course, I could not have been more wrong. I did become alarmed when May started getting way too hot too early, but then June arrived and it was like someone turned off the faucet and turned on the heater. I hope we never have a summer that hot and dry again. The hottest days at our house were between 113 and 116 and my chickens were dropping dead. At the first hint that this summer will be like that, I'm going to buy a window-type air conditioner and put it in the chicken coop. I don't think I would have had so many chickens die if I had been at home every day all day and could keep an eye on them. Once we lost several in one day, I set up the mister system so I could turn it on as I was running out the door to go to a wildfire, and I set up a box fan in each chicken coop and left them running. We didn't lose another chicken after that.

I agree that it was the ridiculous heat that made 2011 so bad. I really think I had worse drought levels in 2006 and probably in 2005 as well, but those were low moisture with only normal hot summer weather, not low moisture with insanely hot summer weather. 2011 was "the perfect storm" in terms of above-average heat and below-average rainfall combining in the worst possible way.

Today I feel like it is a pretty good spring because we got 0.90" of rain over the weekend. You know what clay soil is like though---we'll have puddles of water and very wet soil at the surface for 3 or 4 days, and then all of a sudden the ground will look like red clay flowerpots and will be cracking. Well, unless it rains again, and you know I am hoping it will rain again soon before the ground dries up again.

I agree this could be the best spring in a while if it would rain some more. I do not miss having freezing nights once or twice a week through spring like we had last year.

I haven't even looked at my 10-day forecast today, and I hope it hasn't changed because when I looked at it yesterday, it looked really great.

I think that on the day y'all hit 90, we hit 89, and it felt far too hot to me. That's funny, though, because a month from now, 89 degrees likely will feel cool....and in June we'll be trying to remember what 89 degrees feels like.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:38PM
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Here in Duncan, we've had a lot of cloud cover, at least, in this part of town. Cooler temps have helped with that, but that messes with seed germination, too. Top inch or two of soil has been a bit dry, but otherwise OK.

I've watered several times already, but mostly just to dampen the two inch or so of soil.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 3:01PM
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I just began gardening again last year so I don't remember the weather in early 2011 but I do remember the extreme heat and drought that summer. I don't want a repeat of that year.

I looked on the Mesonet website and the rainfall for Oklahoma City East in 2011 is 1.49" and for 2014 is 2.32"

Oh I loathed those weekly freezes we had last year. I didn't plant my tomatoes until late April last year. I've been planting them for the past couple of weeks, a whole month earlier. Although, I'm not as worried this year because I have frost blankets.

When I was working in the garden last weekend and it was upper 70s I was thinking that it felt so hot. At the same time I also thought that in a few months 70s will feel very cool.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 4:29PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It is raining again. Not that I am complaining. However, it isn't that much rain....mostly it is thunder and lighting and wind, and a few rain drops. It is hailing in our county, but not at our house (for which I am very grateful). Of course, maybe the hail just isn't here yet.

I am going to look at the US Drought Monitors and our local rainfall records and compare the other drought years to 2011 and see what I figure out. I think 2011 had the worst heat, and 2006 the worst drought conditions. It seemed like we spent the whole year of 2006 in Extreme or Exceptional Drought and, while I remember it being hot, I don't think it was incredibly hot for months on end like 2011 was. I remember 2003 being really dry---I think our rainfall was a little under 19" for the whole year, but I do not necessarily remember it being terribly hot. Maybe it is just that I am older and my memories of that year have gotten lost inside my brain.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:23PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Will you feel better if I tell you we had 1.5 inches for 20 months from fall 2010 to spring 2012. And one location in Austin had 0.00 for 2011. It was a bad year in TX as well.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:36PM
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Oh I do not want a repeat of 2011 either. It was my 1st real garden and a total loss. And I had no AC that year. And it didn't make me tougher LOL

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:14PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

fruitnut, Well, it doesn't make me feel better because I can empathize with anyone suffering from such low moisture. IIt just makes me feel sad for everyone involved.

I'm a native Texas and most of my family still lives there, so I watch your state's weather, drought conditions and news about as closely as I watch Oklahoma's. The weather and climate conditions in both states in 2011 just about broke my heart. I found it especially painful to read stories about the wildlife that was dying, the towns who actually were running out of water, and the wildfires.

For several years now, I've wondered when our weather patterns and climate conditions were going to return to something normal like we experienced in previous decades. I really don't think of it in those terms any more---now I just wonder if this is the new normal.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:47PM
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Kim, we just had the heating and air man out, It looks like we need a new unit. I am sure glad I have already bought my seeds, if we get anything to eat this summer it will have to come from the garden LOL.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:14AM
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Dawn, we had a steady drizzle here for the best part of two days. A nice, slow soaking. Grass is turning green, finally.

This year, I'm tired of the cool weather. I'm ready for things to warm up a bit.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:14AM
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For more information on the drought in the state, than a person can really stand :) , I would recommend subscribing to the OCS Mesonet Ticker. Send an email to this address....

... and you will become subscibed to a daily email from Gary McManus, our state climatologist. Its filled with data on rainfall, drought, and the weather in general. And Gary presents this in an entertaining way.

Im gonna try to copy and paste today's email, so maybe it will provide an idea of what Gary does ....


April 8, 2014 April 8, 2014 April 8, 2014 April 8, 2014

Whither tornadoes?

The folks at the Norman NWS office sent us pretty interesting today concerning
the dearth of severe weather we've seen since last year, tornadoes in particular.
I'll just shamelessly cut and paste what they sent me. Lazy? I prefer
"practical." Keep in mind this info is strictly for the NWS Norman forecast
office, so it does not hold true for the entire state (I've adjusted the dates
to account for today as well).

- The last tornado warning we issued was at 810pm on Friday, May 31, 2013. It
expired at 900pm.

- If we get through today, April 8th, this will be day 312 without a tornado

- The previous longest streak was 293 days - June 1, 1990 to March 20, 1991

We talked about this previously, and since then, there still hasn't been a tornado
touch down (at least a reported tornado) in the state since August 7, 2013. If we
count today, that brings the consecutive day total to 244 days. That still ranks
as the third longest period on record, at least dating back to 1950 when accurate
statistics began, but we're quickly closing in on #2 (248 days from 7/16/1990-
3/20/1991). This info also comes from the NWS Norman office, but this data is
for the entire state.

Top-10 Consecutive Day Streaks in Oklahoma Without A Reported Tornado
Rank Days Period
1. 292 05/17/2003 - 03/03/2004
2. 248 07/16/1990 - 03/20/1991
3. 244 08/08/2013 - 04/08/2014
4. 234 07/04/1976 - 02/22/1977
5. 220 08/24/1977 - 03/31/1978
6. 200 08/08/1955 - 02/23/1956
7. 193 09/06/1978 - 03/17/1979
8. 189 10/11/1969 - 04/17/1970
9. 188 09/27/1967 - 04/01/1968
10.(t) 187 08/16/1952 - 02/18/1953
08/29/1962 - 03/03/1963
09/22/2006 - 03/27/2007

If we can make it to Sunday, the current streak will move into second place.
Right now (AHEM!), that appears to be a decent bet. There will be a chance for
some storms this weekend, apparently, but I can't see too many forecasters
gearing up for any bigtime severe weather event. BUT, it is April and so things
can sometimes pop up (or pop down, in this case) unexpectedly. Here's a bit
of info from our friends across the hall at the Norman NWS office.


And from our friends across the, uhhhhh, state, up in the Tulsa NWS office.
They're screaming it just like Norman, so they must be serious.


With that possible threat of storms comes rain, which is needed more and more
each day as the sun climbs higher into the sky along with water stress.

More important also because the state needs the moisture to start greening up
so we can start to reduce some of this fire danger we see every few days (for
days at a time as well). The Amarillo NWS office, which has gotten accustomed
to high fire danger these days, is apparently so happy to have a day without
blowing dust they're going with a nice "Little House on the Mesas" theme
Nevertheless, much of the Oklahoma Panhandle is under a Fire Weather Watch
for today. Plus, I'll bet they get blowing dust anyway.

By the way, if we want to beat that top tornado-less streak of 292 days, we'll
have to make it until May 27th.

Make it so.

Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253

April 8 in Mesonet History*:
Record Maximum 94 F at ALTU in 2011
Record Minimum 17 F at JAYX in 2007
Record Rainfall 3.22" at BIXB in 2008
* - Mesonet History = since 1994


The OCS/Mesonet Ticker

To subscribe or unsubscribe from the Ticker
or for questions about the Ticker or its content
Phone or Email the Ticker Manager at OCS
Phone: 405-325-2253 Email:
-C- Copyright 2014 Oklahoma Climatological Survey

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:41AM
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On second thought, actually yesterday's Ticker is more representative of the type of info Gary provides ....


April 7, 2014 April 7, 2014 April 7, 2014 April 7, 2014

Weird, quasi-spherical liquid objects falling from the sky

The rain was about what was expected over parts of the state this weekend (Altus'
0.09 inches should keep them for awhile. That's almost a year's worth of rain
in those parts these days. The southeastern quarter got the bulk of the good
stuff with more than an inch in localized areas, maybe a bit more. The
northwestern half was largely left out in the cold (dry), however.

That gives the southeastern quarter a pretty good dose of moisture over the
last 30 days or so, certainly the only part of the state above normal and in
very stark contrast to whats going on for the rest of the state.

So this weekend's rainfall may have dropped Woodward down to "1" day without at
least a quarter-inch of rainfall on any single day, but for the rest of far
western Oklahoma east over into north central Oklahoma, it's a different story.

Altus' 0.09 inches brings them up to 4.7 inches since Oct. 1, 2013, but even
that is looked upon by folks to the north and west with envy.

Water Year (Oct. 1, 2013-Present) Maps

Now it is raining now up in the northwest, and we do see chances for LIGHT
rain through much of the day ... hit and miss showers, really, that shouldn't
amount to much.

After that, it's right back into a warming trend and also increased fire danger
(as our NWS friends remind us).

So watch for a nice warm up this week. Thursday will be the warmest day of
the next week, it appears, although Wednesday should be right there with it.

Our next chance for rain looks like it might show up next weekend. That's a
long way out still, but you can see some decent rains starting to paint the
7-day rainfall forecast map from WPC.

Three guesses where the highest amounts are forecast!

Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253

April 7 in Mesonet History*:
Record Maximum 95 F at ALTU in 2011
Record Minimum 16 F at CAMA in 2009
Record Rainfall 6.03" at ANTL in 2002
* - Mesonet History = since 1994


The OCS/Mesonet Ticker

To subscribe or unsubscribe from the Ticker
or for questions about the Ticker or its content
Phone or Email the Ticker Manager at OCS
Phone: 405-325-2253 Email:
-C- Copyright 2014 Oklahoma Climatological Survey

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:09PM
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I remember 2011. That was the Great Flood Year. With 10 inches in April and then 14 in May, we had major flooding in Adair Co. The paper showed pics of a man standing in a gulley over his head--in what had been a county road. Near our house a culvert under a blacktop road blew out and took half the road away, leaving an 8 ft deep hole. But then in June and July we got less than an inch each month. August brought 8 inches and a bumper crop of pears and late tomatoes. So 2011 wasn't as bad for us as 2012. The fall of 05 and 06 brought the worst brushfire season and the warmest Jan ever.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:33PM
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I've read the ticker before from the app, but I think I'll subscribe. That first picture and his comments about Altus in yesterday's ticker made me laugh.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 3:03PM
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