May saw a continuation of the cool weather and drought relief the state has experienced since mid-February, although western Oklahoma and the Panhandle remained parched. According to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the statewide average temperature finished at 66.8 degrees, more than a degree below normal. May was the fourth consecutive month to finish with below normal temperatures, a feat not seen in Oklahoma since the four-month period between December 2009 and February 2010.
The below-normal finish was mainly due to a cool first half of the month, particularly during the first week. A freeze occurred across western and northern Oklahoma as late as May 3, with temperatures dropping into the 20s as far south as the Red River. Up to 2 inches of snow fell across northeastern Oklahoma on that day, the latest snowfall on record for many locations. Tulsa recorded its first-ever May snowfall with a trace on May 2. Numerous records were broken for lowest minimum and lowest maximum temperatures during those first few days of the month. The climatological spring season of March through May finished with a statewide average temperature of 56.2 degrees, nearly three degrees below normal, to rank as the 11th coolest on record.
The precipitation totals across the state only added to the month’s tarnished legacy. The Mesonet site at Hooker in Texas County recorded a measly 0.08 inches of rain for the month, the second lowest May total for that Panhandle town since records began in 1906, just 0.04 inches behind 1916’s 0.04 inches.
On the other end of the scale, Oklahoma City experienced its wettest May on record with a whopping 14.52 inches of rain at Will Rogers Airport. That total becomes Oklahoma City’s second wettest month on record, eclipsed only by June 1989’s 14.66 inches. Combined with March and April, Oklahoma City’s spring total balloons to 23.18 inches, besting the previous wettest spring mark of 20.31 inches from 1947.