The year 2008 followed the example of 2007 in being a frequent newsmaker in the world of Texoma weather. It certainly made for many difficult forecasts in my corner of the world, but that's part of the challenge!
>>>January and February saw several high wind events; westerly winds gusted to nearly 60mph on January 29th, which pushed a big cloud of dust over us. Yeech! Two days later, an arctic front brought 40mph north wind to Texoma, another day of high fire danger. February fared no better with strong winds on the 14th and the 25th, and much below normal rainfall which kept the fire danger at critical levels.
>>>Early March saw two heavy snows separated by just two days (for many areas along the Highway 75 corridor): a Texoma record for such heavy snow events so close together.
>>>Tornado scares began in mid-March with a confirmed tornado over Pushmataha County March 13th; luckily little damage was reported.
Another severe event with baseball sized hail cut through Marshall and Bryan Counties on March 31st.
A supercell thunderstorm generated a tornado that hit Breckenridge, Texas on April 9th. We tracked this storm all the way into Grayson County where tornado warnings were issued; but no damage was reported and a touchdown was never confirmed.
An unusual wind event in late April, which came from the backside of a thunderstorm, damaged boats and marinas on Lake Texoma.
Ardmore suffered considerable damage from a straight-line wind event on May 7th; including power failures and windows blown out in some downtown buildings. Overall, it was an active severe weather season with more than a dozen events in a two-month period.
>>>Summer came on strong with an unwelcome July-August heat wave; hottest temperatures included:
>>>Two close brushes with the remains of hurricane “Gustav” one week and “Ike” the next made September a weird weather month for sure. After Ike moved by on September 13th, Texoma went into an autumn drought and we couldn’t buy rain! Grass fire reports became an almost daily feature on First News.
>>>We’re still in a drought as of this writing, with yearly rainfall for 2008 in the range 60-75% of normal for the bulk of Texoma. This translates into 11-17" below average for the year!
>>>The December 8th tornado outbreak which tore through Grayson County was the first such event in the city of Denison in many years. About a hundred and fifty homes were damaged or destroyed by two tornadoes and associated straight-line winds from the parent supercell storm. (This total includes Collinsville and Southmayd as well as Denison.)
>>>Slippery times came just a week later on December 15th. Arctic air moved in and freezing drizzle developed. Numerous accidents were reported all over Texoma and especially in Bryan, Grayson and Fannin Counties. Many schools closed the following day, giving students an extra day to shop for those nice gifts for their parents (that’s a joke!). Another freezing drizzle event on December 23rd left more banged-up cars on area roadways. What a mess!
>>>It only seems fitting that a parting shot of severe weather rolled through on December 27, 2008. Fortunately, no tornadoes this time, but high winds did do a little damage in Grayson County. As has been the case for many storm events this year, rainfall was stingy on this one too.
We can only hope that 2009 might be a year with some dependable precipitation, moderate temperatures and no damaging weather. Wouldn’t that be nice. Since it’s not possible to reliably forecast such things for an entire year out, I’ll just leave it in the “hope” department!