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Fires, Torrential Rain And Tornadoes Cap An Aggressive April In Oklahoma Weather

May 2, 2016

Oklahoma saw the 7th-wettest April on record, despite kicking off 2016 with fears of a strengthening drought. Oklahoma Mesonet stations recorded a statewide average of 6.11 inches of rain last month.

State Climatologist Gary McManus says extreme and violent weather bookended the month. An uncontrollable wildfire started April 5 and hundreds of thousands of acres in Northwest Oklahoma.

“Emergency management personnel estimated damages at $2.3 million from the fire as it scorched nearly 90 square miles in Woodward and Harper counties,” McManus said.

Severe thunderstorms last Tuesday and Friday dropped at least 11 confirmed tornadoes on the state, although the National Weather Service says that number could rise as more investigations are conducted. Most of those were weak tornadoes with an intensity of EF1 or lower.

"Large hail was widespread with this round of storms. Ice to the size of grapefruits fell in Comanche County, with several other reports of baseball size hail or larger scattered around the state,” McManus said. “More flooding occurred, especially across southeastern Oklahoma. The Mesonet site at Broken Bow recorded 8.73 inches of rain on the 29th, and several other southeastern Mesonet sites saw more than 4 inches.”

Credit Oklahoma Mesonet

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center says May will likely bring below-average temperatures for much of the state, especially in western Oklahoma. Above-average rainfall is also forecast, with drought conditions likely eliminated by the end of the month.

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