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Oklahoma's coldest morning on record: -31°F ; storm leaves 2 feet of snow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:13 PM GMT on February 10, 2011

Cold air pouring in behind yesterday's remarkable snowstorm over northeast Oklahoma has brought unprecedented cold to the state this morning, with a bone-chilling -31°F recorded at Nowata and -28°F at Bartlesville. These are the coldest temperatures ever measured in Oklahoma. According to Extreme Weather, the excellent weather records book by wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, the previous coldest temperature in Oklahoma was -27°F set in nearby Watts on January 18, 1930. A personal weather station in nearby Hogshooter Valley also hit -28°F this morning (one wonders how the Valley got its colorful name!) Today's record is the second time since the year 2000 that one of the 50 states has set an all-time extreme cold temperature record. On January 16, 2009, Big Black River, Maine set a new state record with -50°F. In comparison, three states--Virginia, California, and South Dakota--have set all-time extreme heat records since 2000. Since 1990, nine states have set all-time extreme high temperature records, and eight states have set all-time extreme cold records. It was also very cold in Arkansas this morning, with a -20°F reading in Springdale. The all-time coldest temperature for Arkansas is -29°F, recorded on February 13, 1905, at Pond and Gavette. Relief is in sight, though--Tuesday's forecast calls for high temperatures in Bartlesville in the low 60s, a full 90 degrees warmer than this morning's low!

Figure 1. Record snows of 25" piled up in northeast Oklahoma near Jay on February 9, 2011. Image credit: wunderphotographer okieski.

Yesterday's major snowstorm blasted northeast Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, and southwest Missouri with up to two feet of snow. The heaviest snows fell in northeast Oklahoma, with 25 inches reported at Jay. Siloam Springs in northwest Arkansas had 24.5", which is just 1/2" shy of the Arkansas state record for heaviest snowstorm of all-time, the 25" that fell on Corning on January 22, 1918. Yesterday's storm brought heavy snows of a foot or more to Kansas, Texas, Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, according the the latest NOAA Storm Summary. Significant snows also hit much of the Southeast, with 4.5" recorded in Vernon, AL; 3.8" in Memphis, TN; 3.7" in Bowling Green, KY; and 1" in Asheville, NC. The snow has almost ended over the Southeast, as the storm is now centered off the North Carolina coast and is moving out to sea.

Snowiest month and year in Tulsa's history
The 6.2 inches of snow that fell in Tulsa, Oklahoma during yesterday's snowstorm gave that city its snowiest month on record, according to the National Weather Service. Tulsa has received 23" of snow this month, most of this in the February 1 blizzard. The previous record snowiest month was March 1924, when 19.7" fell. The total for the 2010 - 2011 season now stands at 26.6", a new record. The previous record was the 25.6" that fell in the winter of 1923 - 1924. Oklahoma City received 5.9" of snow, bringing their seasonal total to 19.6", still well shy of their all-time record of 25.2", set in 1947 - 1948.

Figure 2. Snowfall amounts in Western Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas from the snowstorm of Feb 8 - 9, 2011, reached two feet (24 inches) in isolated regions. Image credit: National Weather Service, Tulsa.

Jeff Masters
NWArk Snow Event 3
NWArk Snow Event 3
My youngest kitty, 3yr old CharleyGirl, is NOT amused.
Northwest Arkansas Record Snowfall
Northwest Arkansas Record Snowfall
A record snowfall hit NW Ark. today with totals upward of 20

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