2011 was a year of atmospheric extremes in Texoma, to say the least.
Snow visited the second week of the new year when 2-6" of snow fell across north Texas and southern Oklahoma January 9. The snow lingered on the ground several days with daytime highs barely above freezing. A surface pressure of 30.82" (1043mb) was observed at the North Texas Regional Airport on January 12. A pressure this high is rather rare here, and a good testament to the arctic nature of the air which was in place.
February began with the second major snow event of the winter on the first, followed by a 4-day stretch of intense cold. The snow depth ranged from 9" at Ada and 7" at Sulphur to 4" at Ardmore, about 2" at Sherman and Durant and 1" for Hugo and Antlers. Paris received less than an inch of snow.
Temperatures remained below freezing from Feb 2nd to 5th which allowed the snow and ice to stay on the ground for several days. Most area schools were closed for at least three days due to very icy roads. It was bitterly cold. Below is a table for the coldest morning lows observed February 2:
February 2, 2011 Low (degrees F.)
Spring offered dangerous and tragic weather with a tornado passing just north of Madill before tearing through Tushka at 7:25 p.m.on April 14, 2011. Two died, 43 were hurt, and the Tushka School was a total loss. Dozens of other structures in the town were destroyed with more damaged.
Below are images of the "hook echo" signature of the tornado as captured on Doppler 12 five minutes before it passed through Tushka:
There was a second tornado scare in the Tushka area a mere five days later when a Supercell formed just a few miles north of Atoka and produced hail to grapefruit size. A Tornado Warning was issued, but luckily the storm moved east without producing a tornado here. Golfball hail fell in Paris later in the day from this same complex of thunderstorms.
May 1 brought a straight line wind event along an unusually strong cold front. Winds of 90-100 mph tore apart signs, a church steeple and numerous roofs in Denison. Radar, surface weather data and the damage pattern strongly suggest this was not a tornado, but a fierce wind nonetheless. The morning of May 3 saw very cold readings for May behind the front with lows in the 30s throughout Texoma.
Seven tornadoes skipped across Murray, McClain and Pontotoc Counties on May 21 with one passing just north of Ada, but fortunately there were no casualties and little damage. May 24th was the last active day of the severe weather season of Texoma. A swarm of four small tornadoes moved northeastward across Cooke and Love counties but no damage was reported. Baseball hail pummeled parts of Sherman this same day while Ada reported quarter sized hail. Ringling was raked by 90mph winds.
Despite these severe weather events, Texoma was lucky. Massive tornadoes wrecked large portions of Tuscaloosa, Alabama in April and Joplin, Missouri in May. Each of these killed over 100 people, so overall we were very fortunate to dodge the majority of the deadly outbreaks during the spring. A total of about 1600 tornadoes were observed nationwide in 2011, some 25% more than average.
Then came the summer of 2011: the hottest on record for the states of Oklahoma and Texas. Temperatures reached 100 degrees or greater for more than a month in a row in many Texoma cities:
|City||Consecutive 100+ days|
Precious little rain fell from early June through late September. Lake Texoma dropped to 609.67 feet reaching its lowest level since the late 1970s.
The weather grew more merciful in November and December with generous rainfall replenishing soil moisture in many areas. The drought is in remission but it’s not over. A drier-than-average pattern is expected to dominate into the spring, but as we saw in December, we could always get a break and prove that forecast wrong.
For sake of length, this post represents the highlights of the year’s weather with some events not included.