The Norman Transcript

Opinion

August 2, 2013

An uncommon July brings drought relief

NORMAN — It was not the wettest July on record in Oklahoma, at least not on a statewide basis. That mark belongs to 1950’s statewide average of 9.26 inches. Nor was it the coolest. That title is held by 1906’s statewide average of 75.9 degrees.

Nevertheless, this July will be remembered as one of the wettest and mildest in recent memory, especially compared to the blast furnace versions of the last few summers. It featured a Fourth of July holiday with highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s and enough rain to kick drought to the curb across much of the state.

According to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, July’s statewide average precipitation total was 5.11 inches, a surplus of 2.37 inches, and ranked as the 15th wettest since records began in 1895. The statewide average temperature was a very pleasant 79.6 degrees, two degrees below normal and the 28th coolest July on record.

The highest temperature recorded during the month was 107 degrees at Alva, Buffalo and Freedom on July 9 and again at Grandfield on July 11. The lowest temperature reported was an unseasonably chilly 49 degrees at Seiling on July 2.

While nearly all areas of the state received beneficial rain, a wide discrepancy existed between locations.

The Mesonet’s Kingfisher site led the state with 10.99 inches of rainfall during July, while Goodwell brought up the rear at 1.02 inches. Oklahoma City’s total of 9.84 inches, 6.91 inches above normal, ranked this July as its second wettest on record, bested only by 1996’s 11.9 inches. hat also keeps Oklahoma City on pace to have its wettest calendar year on record with a January-July total of 41.69 inches, more than three inches ahead of 2007’s total of 38.15 inches over the same period. The calendar year record for Oklahoma City currently stands at 56.95 inches from 2007.

Records for Oklahoma City date back to 1891. On the other side of the moisture spectrum, the Mesonet site at Goodwell has recorded a meager 5.2 inches of rain since the first of the year. That’s the third driest January-July for that area since 1910. Not surprisingly, 2011 earned the driest mark for Goodwell with 1.73 inches.

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