The wintry precipitation actually came in two successive waves. The first storm brought a light glaze of ice to the state on the 22nd and 23rd and wind chills down into the single digits. The more powerful storm struck on the 24th and 25th with snow, sleet and freezing rain falling over a large area, creating widespread traffic problems and scattered power outages.
National Weather Service cooperative observers at Altus, Hobart and Vinson all recorded 13 inches of snow during the storm Nov. 24 and 25, and the Mangum observer was close behind with 11 inches. Widespread totals of four to six inches were reported across other parts of southwestern Oklahoma.
Some snow spread to the north and east from the storm, but the rest of the state saw precipitation mainly in the form of rain, sleet and freezing rain. Oklahoma City saw less than an inch of snow during the storm, and Tulsa recorded a trace.
Very little change occurred in drought conditions during November, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. There was an increase in drought intensity across far southwestern and west central Oklahoma, but a bit of a decrease across south central Oklahoma. At month’s end, 31 percent of Oklahoma remained in some intensify of drought on the Drought Monitor, almost entirely within the western one-third of the state.
The December precipitation outlook from the NWS’ Climate Prediction Center indicates increased odds of below normal moisture for Oklahoma. The outlook for temperature is much less certain with equal chances of below-, above- and near-normal temperatures during December.
An extended visit by an arctic air mass looks likely for late in the first week and into the second week of the month, so that might be enough to tip the odds to the cool side.
CPC’s Monthly Drought Outlook for December calls for drought to persist across those areas of Oklahoma where it is already in place, but also for more development across far western Oklahoma. CPC’s winter outlook for the December-February period sees increased odds of above-normal temperatures but no definitive outlook for precipitation.
Gary McManus is Oklahoma’s Associate State Climatologist. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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