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. . . Day by Day . . . . . . February 23 in Mesonet History* . . .
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Record Maximum 91 F WAUR 2017
Record Minimum -0 F CHER 2003
Record Rainfall 3.61" EUFA 2018

* Mesonet History = since 1994

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February 20, 2020  February 20, 2020  February 20, 2020  February 20, 2020   


Shrinkage?

 
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/20200218_OK_trd.png 

BRRRR! It's too cold to talk about, uhhhh, the cold. The current maps say it all.

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/current-temps.png

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/current-windchills.png

And the snow and rain showed up for a bit, but pretty underwhelming in actuality. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/rainrfc.24hr.png 

So let's talk about drought. You know, the one hazard we climatologists get all
to ourselves after those high highfalutin meteorologists get all the exciting 
stuff. As you see in the top graphic, yes indeed drought does shrink, and it 
continues to slowly dwindle in the far southwest where just a small sliver of 
moderate drought remains. The surrounding yellow in this case, the abnormally 
dry conditions, represents areas more likely going OUT of drought than entering. 
The drought in the far western Panhandle remains firm as they haven't received
nearly as much precip as the rest of the state. If we take a look at the rainfall
maps for the year thus far vs. the water year (Oct. 1-present) thus far, we
can see why the SW drought is shrinking, but the Panhandle drought remains
unchanged. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/year.to.date-totals.png

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/year.to.date-departure.png

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/water.year-totals.png

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/water.year-depature.png

I'm telling ya, one more general rain across the southwest would probably 
wipe those colors off the map...arguable it could have been done this week if
not for the longer-term deficits shows in the water year departure map above. 

What about as we go forward? Our next storm system is usually right around the 
corner. Well, maybe not so fast to the Panhandle, but the SW is in luck 
(possibly). Let's take a look at the March and then March-May temperature
and precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/march-temp-outlook.gif

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/march-precip-outlook.gif 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/march-may-temp-outlook.gif

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/march-may-precip-outlook.gif

We see increased odds of below normal temperatures across the entire state for
March, but especially across eastern Oklahoma. We also see increased odds of
below normal precipitation across northeast Oklahoma, which I'm sure they would
welcome with open arms (but not open spillways!). 

Then for the 3-month March-May period, increased odds of above normal 
temperatures across the southern and far western Panhandle sections, and  
below normal precip in the far western Panhandle. 

Now when you put those together, they don't really tell you much about the 
upcoming storm season, although what we tell you is that you should prepare for
every storm season in Oklahoma to be the worst on record just to be 
prepared. And in Oklahoma, storm season is January 1-December 31. What it can
tell us is that drought could be expected to be relieved and maybe eradicated 
across southwestern Oklahoma, but persist in the far western Panhandle. Other
than that, there is no call towards drought development in other parts of the
state through May, which is good if not overly optimistic news. 

Now in the shorter term, as we exit February, look for a few minor bouts with
cold fronts and precipitation, but nothing drought-shattering. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20200220/7day-rain-forecast.gif 

Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Mesonet
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253
gmcmanus@mesonet.org