A Milder and Wetter Summer Possible for Oklahoma
Associate State Climatologist
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
After the turbulent weather of the previous two weeks, it appears Oklahoma is going to get a
break from Mother Nature. Based upon preliminary numbers from the National Weather
Service, Oklahoma has experienced more than 50 tornadoes since May 10. The state also saw
numerous types of other severe weather during that period, including possibly the worst
hailstorm to have ever struck Oklahoma City. Now, thanks to a forecast upper-level ridge, the
state could be shifting into a more summer-like pattern.
The latest outlooks from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) indicate an increased
possibility of above-normal temperatures for the next couple of weeks to go along with an
increased chance of below-normal rainfall. The CPC’s outlooks do not indicate how much
warmer or drier the weather could be compared to normal, only that an increased possibility
for both exists through June 3.
The CPC outlooks for the June-August summer period see different processes come into play.
The most important driver of Oklahoma’s climate during summer appears to be the high soil
moisture content currently in place thanks to the heavy rains of the last couple of weeks. Moist
soils can feed convective systems through evaporation, and that evaporation helps to cool the
surface. The summer outlooks reflect that with an increased chance of a wetter and cooler
Looking even farther out, it appears more and more likely that La Niña conditions will develop
in the equatorial pacific this fall and last throughout winter. While that can mean drier and
warmer weather for the state, the influence will be much more important for points south of
Oklahoma. The strong El Niño that helped bring the state a cool and wet winter has all but