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December 2013 and Year 2013

  • Fayetteville, AR received its annual normal snowfall of 7.0" in this month alone.
  • Using the radar-derived estimated observed precipitation from the RFCs, rainfall totals for December 2013 ranged from less than an inch in Osage, Washington, and Nowata Counties in northeast Oklahoma to around 6” in southern Le Flore County in southeast Oklahoma. Locations northwest of I-44 had below normal precipitation for December 2013, with most of this area receiving only 25%-75% of the normal December rainfall. A mix of above and below normal precipitation was observed across the remainder of eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.
  • Locations northwest of I-44 had below normal precipitation this month, with a mix of above and below normal conditions elsewhere in the HSA.
  • Two significant ice storms affected eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas in December 2013.  The first was a major winter storm that impacted eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, beginning early on the 5th, and continued through late on the 6th. Significant ice accumulations and sleet and snow accumulations occurred. An arctic cold front pushed through the region during the daylight hours of the 4th, dropping temperatures from the 60s in some locations to below freezing in a matter of hours. Far southeast Oklahoma and west central Arkansas were hardest hit with ice accumulation and related impacts. Areas from Hugo to Antlers, Poteau, and toward Greenwood and Ozark saw between a 0.50” and 1” of ice accumulation and widespread power outages occurred. Snow and sleet accumulated to 3”-6” across a large part of northeast Oklahoma, east central Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. The largest snow and sleet accumulations, a foot or more, were recorded in far northwest Arkansas across Benton and Carroll counties. Officially, Tulsa, OK received 4.9", Fort Smith, AR 5.0", and Fayetteville, AR 7.0" of sleet and snow during this event.
  • From late on the 20th through the 21st, a second significant ice storm impacted a large portion of Oklahoma, extending from the southwestern portions of the state eastward through much of east central and northeast Oklahoma. The swath of accumulating ice also reached into extreme northwest portions of Arkansas. The shallow, yet very cold, nature of the airmass north of a cold front allowed widespread freezing rain to develop, with a swath of heavy icing along the I-44 corridor and also across a portion of Osage County. Ice accumulations of 0.50”-0.75” were reported in these areas. Further south, across southeast Oklahoma into extreme northwest Arkansas, icing accumulations of 0.25”-0.50” were reported. South of the cold front, temperatures remained warm enough to prevent icing, however localized flooding was reported with the widespread and long duration rainfall. The Illinois River near Tahlequah rose above action stage, but remained below flood stage. Rises occurred along several rivers across southeast OK, though none exceeded flood stage.
  • No mainstem river flooding occurred this month.
  • According to the Drought Monitor from December 31, 2013, Abnormally Dry (D0), but not experiencing drought, conditions remained in Choctaw, southern Rogers, Mayes, and northern Wagoner Counties in eastern Oklahoma.
  • According to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, December 2013 was the 38th driest for northeast Oklahoma, the 28th wettest for east central Oklahoma, and the 46th driest for southeast Oklahoma. Records go back to 1921.
Year 2013
  • Using the radar-derived estimated observed precipitation from the RFCs, rainfall totals for 2013 were 35”-60” across the majority of eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. However, a few areas of Pawnee, Creek, Tulsa, Rogers, Washington (OK), Choctaw, and Crawford Counties received between 25” and 35” of rain. Southeast Le Flore County and northeast Benton County received a little over 60” of rain this year. These rainfall totals ranged from 75% to 150% of the normal annual rainfall, with the 50%-75% of normal in portions of Creek, Crawford, and Choctaw Counties.
  • According to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, 2013 was the 32nd wettest for northeast Oklahoma, the 30th wettest for east central Oklahoma, and the 38th wettest for southeast Oklahoma. Records go back to 1921.
  • Area rivers exceeded flood stage on 27 occasions during 2013, with flooding occurring in each of the major river basins in eastern Oklahoma (Verdigris, Grand-Neosho, Lower Arkansas, Canadian, and Lower Red Basins). The Neosho River near Commerce experienced flooding 4 times this year, while the Verdigris River near Lenapah and the Illinois River near Watts and near Tahlequah flooded 3 times each.
  • Flash flooded caused at least $6.5 million in damage to roads (infrastructure), homes, and businesses in 2013, and resulted in one fatality in Okfuskee County on June 1, 2013.
  • 43 tornadoes occurred in eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas in 2013, compared to an average of about 18 per year since 1950. Tornadoes occurred in January, March, April, May, June, and July. Four were rated EF2, with the strongest being in Broken Arrow on May 30, 2013. These tornadoes caused at least $8 million in property damage and at least four injuries, though no fatalities.
  • At least $400,000 in property damage occurred in 2013 due to hail. The largest stones reported during the year were 4.25" north of Bigheart in Osage County on May 20, 2013 and 3.00" near Fort Gibson in Muskogee County on March 30, 2013.
  • One fatality occurred in Springdale, AR (Washington County) on May 20, 2013 due to strong thunderstorm winds. The strongest straight-line wind gusts reported this year were 91 mph (measured) in Tulsa, OK on July 23, 2013.
  • There were several periods of excessive heat in 2013, including June 26-27, July 9-10, and August 6-7, with dozens of heat-related medical calls in Tulsa County. Over 450 heat-related medical calls occurred on August 31, 2013 at the Arkansas Razorbacks home football game in Fayetteville, AR.
  • The Climate Prediction Center CPC outlook for January 2014 (issued December 31, 2013) indicates equal chances for above, near, and below normal temperatures and precipitation across all of eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. This outlook is based primarily on short term forecasts of expected weather conditions during the first half of the month, as well as longer term climate anomalies.
  • For the 3-month period January-February-March 2014, CPC is forecasting an enhanced chance for above normal temperatures and equal chances for above, near, and below median rainfall across all of eastern OK and northwest AR (outlook issued December 19, 2013). This outlook is based on both statistical and dynamical forecast tools and correlations with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
  • According to CPC, ENSO neutral conditions remained through December. ENSO neutral conditions are expected to continue into Summer 2014.