October’s drought to deluge


OSC Mesonet

The flash drought that had plagued the southwestern half of Oklahoma since mid-July appeared poised to explode across the entire state during October.

As it began its northward advance, however, assistance arrived in the form of three distinct storm systems that not only halted the drought’s advance but reversed its course. The first storm originated from the Tropical Pacific off the West Coast of Mexico. The remnants of Hurricane Norma journeyed over Mexico and into the southern plains Oct. 24, depositing 1-2 inches of tropical-style rain across parts of southern and central Oklahoma.

This was swiftly followed by a more conventional storm system from the west that brought another round of rainfall to the state and ushered in significantly cooler weather. The last system arrived during the month’s final weekend, accompanied by a blast of Arctic air, offering Oklahoma an early taste of winter.

Freezing rain, mixed with sleet and snow, created hazardous driving conditions across the Panhandle and far northwestern Oklahoma on the 28th and 29th, while the rest of the state experienced a cold rain in blustery conditions. Another surge of cold air greeted Oklahoma’s trick-or-treaters, leading to a frigid Halloween night with wind chills in the 20s and 30s on the evening of the 31st.

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Craig Hall
Publisher, writer, photographer and teacher.