November Provides Wintry Preview
The Oklahoma Mesonet’s temperature data tell the story of a dry and unusually warm November, but there was actually a good dose of winter during the month, as well as a nice measure of rain at the end. The state’s first significant wintry precipitation of the season fell in the state on Thanksgiving Weekend across the northwestern half. Totals generally ranged between 2-4 inches, but a swath of 4-6 inches occurred across far northwestern Oklahoma and the eastern Panhandle. Isolated totals of 8-9 inches were reported in parts of Beaver and Harper counties. Icy roads were suspected as a contributing factor in a pile-up accident involving 22 vehicles soon after midnight on Nov. 26 in Oklahoma City. One driver died when his vehicle rolled into the North Canadian River. On the month's final day, another storm system brought predominantly rain to the state, with widespread totals ranging from a half-inch to an inch. In far southeastern Oklahoma, the storm delivered over 3 inches.
The statewide average temperature finished at 51 degrees according to preliminary data from the Oklahoma Meosnet, 1.6 degrees above normal and ranked as the 30th warmest November since records began in 1895. Temperatures ranged from 95 degrees at Hollis on Nov. 7 to 6 degrees at Hooker on Nov. 25—the lowest temperature recorded in the state since Eva’s 5 degrees back on March 19. Wind chills plummeted below 10 degrees 55 times at the Mesonet’s 119 sites during November’s late-month arctic blast, botoming out with Hooker’s minus 7 degrees on the 25th. Eva led all Mesonet sites with 159 hours at or below freezing during the month. All 119 sites had experienced a hard freeze with temperatures at or below 28 degrees during November. Climatological fall ended with a statewide average of 63.4 degrees, 2.2 degrees above normal and ranked as the 13th warmest September through November on record. The season’s first freeze occurred at Beaver on Oct. 7, and 2023’s presumptive final triple-digit reading was on Sept. 23 at several locations. The January-November average temperature was 63.6 degrees, 1.3 degrees above normal and ranked as the 14th warmest such period on record.
The statewide average precipitation total was 1.48 inches, which fell 0.84 inches below normal and ranked as the 48th driest November since records began in 1895. Totals ranged from 4.54 inches at Broken Bow to 0.01 inches at Kenton. Thirty-five Mesonet sites recorded an inch or less for the month. Virtually the entire state suffered a rainfall deficit for the month except for a few sites across far northern Oklahoma that benefited from the late-month heavy snows, and generally ranged from about half an inch to a bit more than 2 inches. The fall season was 0.88 inches below normal and ranked as the 65th driest September through November on record with a statewide average of 8.12 inches. The first 11 months of the year had an average rainfall total of 34.02 inches, the 54th wetest January-November on record since 1895 with an average deficit of just 0.23 inches.
Despite the dry month, drought coverage actually dropped in the state from 36% at the end of October to 34% at the end of November, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The most severe drought remained centered in far north central and southwestern Oklahoma, where long-term rainfall deficits of 6 to 12 inches persisted. The Climate Prediction Center’s outlooks for December indicate increased odds for above normal precipitation across the eastern half of the state and above normal temperatures across all of Oklahoma. Drought improvement or removal is deemed likely for parts of south central Oklahoma in CPC’s December drought outlook, but persistence is indicated for the rest of the state where drought currently exists.