Oklahoma had its wettest year on record in 2015, and the year brought the third highest total for tornadoes in the state and was the 17th warmest year on record.
The statewide average of 53.88 inches of precipitation beat the previous record, set in 1957, by more than half a foot. In a media release, state climatologist Gary McManus wrote that the National Weather Service cooperative site at Daisy in Atoka County, in eastern Oklahoma, had the wettest calendar year of any site in Oklahoma. That site collected 89.69 inches of rain, beating the previous record at Tuskahoma in 1990 of 88.27 inches. Twelve Mesonet sites and five NWS cooperative sites broke 80 inches, according to preliminary data. Not surprisingly, the rain and snow erased the drought that gripped 68 percent of Oklahoma in early April.
The statewide average temperature for 2015 was 61 degrees, which is 1.1 degrees above normal. The year ended on a warm note. Oklahoma saw the fourth warmest December on record with an average statewide temperature of 44.5 degrees, according to McManus.
Oklahoma had 109 reported tornadoes in 2015, the third highest since accurate records keeping began in 1950. Tornadoes resulted in two deaths and 55 injuries.
McManus writes that 2016 could be another wet year for Oklahoma:
The NWS’ Climate Prediction Center (CPC) expects the El Niño that is thought to have impacted both our spring and late fall-early winter weather to remain strong through winter before dissipating during the spring or early summer of 2016. With that as the backdrop, CPC outlooks call for increased odds of above normal precipitation across southwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle during January. In the longer term, they see increased odds for above normal precipitation across most of Oklahoma through mid-spring, with greater chances across the western half of the state. There are no clear indications in the outlooks for temperature.
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