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June Weather Follows Script

June followed its normal script almost to the letter with a rainy and stormy first half of the month that gave way to the beginnings of a long hot stretch of Oklahoma summer. Mother Nature did manage to throw in a nice improvisation at the end of the month with a cool front dropping temperatures into the 80s over much of the state. The previous heat was enough to end the state's streak of below normal months at four, however. According to data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the statewide average temperature came in at 77.9 degrees, 1.4 degrees above normal to rank as the 34th warmest June since records began in 1895. Temperatures climbed into the triple-digits as early as May 3, but really got started at that level on the 10th. Freedom reached the month's highest temperature of 111 degrees on the 27th.

While the average statewide rainfall total fell 0.6 inches below normal at 3.69 inches – the 56th driest June on record – there were still parts of the state that had some hefty rainfall totals for the month. Probably the biggest surprise was the small Panhandle town of Slapout and its 5.7 inches. Okemah led the state with 8.73 inches. Other areas of the state did not fare so well. A large part of southwestern Oklahoma had less than 2 inches for the month. Northeastern Oklahoma and the western Panhandle were also particularly dry during the month. June's first day was merely a continuation of the tumultuous end of May. The tornadoes thankfully ended on May 31, but the flooding rains from those storms continued into June. More than 6 inches fell across parts of east central Oklahoma with more generalized amounts from 2-4 inches. Rain fell somewhere in the state on almost every day through the ninth, and again from the 15th through the 19th.

The rains throughout the first couple of weeks allowed further reduction of drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report. Nearly 59 percent of the state was covered by some intensity of drought on the May 28 Drought Monitor, but that number dropped to 53 percent on the June 25 map. The percentage of extreme-to-exceptional drought, the Monitor's two worst categories, remained virtually unchanged at 26 percent. Severe-to-exceptional drought still covers much of the western one-third of the state, and also parts of north central and south central Oklahoma.

The July temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) indicates equal odds of above-, below- and near-normal temperatures for Oklahoma. So no real clear temperature signal is showing up at this time. The precipitation outlook does show increased odds of above normal rainfall across the western Panhandle, an area that desperately needs moisture.  The CPC U.S. monthly Drought Outlook for July shows drought persisting or intensifying across the western third of Oklahoma, including much of the Panhandle. There is some limited improvement possible in the far western Panhandle. Those areas not in drought across central and eastern Oklahoma are expected to remain drought free, at least through July.

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