Record Heat, Drought Continues in Southern Plains
As a follow up to my previous blog,
the early May heat wave continues making this perhaps the warmest period of weather ever observed this time of the year in portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and northwestern Texas. The same region is also off to one of its driest starts to the year ever observed.
Following all the heat records set on May 4th (as detailed in my last blog), May 5th experienced more of the same:MAY 5th Heat RecordsAbilene, Texas
104° (tied earliest such reading set on April 25, 2012)San Angelo, TX
103° (ties same in 1984)Amarillo, Texas
98° (tied daily record also set in 1940)Oklahoma City
97° (previous record 94° in 1940)Lubbock, Texas
99° (ties same in 2012)Childress, Texas
105° (ties same in 2012)Wichita Falls, Texas
102° (previous record 98° in 2012)Tulsa, Oklahoma
92° (ties same in 1952)Ft. Smith, Arkansas
93° (previous record 92° in 1952)
In addition to the above records broken or tied were daily records of 95° set in both Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. Altus, Oklahoma reported an amazing 107° (actually 106.5°) at their Municipal Airport location which was the hottest temperature observed in the entire U.S. on May 5th. The data for this site (KAXS) seems a bit out of line with surrounding sites and so is suspicious.MAY 6th Heat RecordsWichita, Kansas
99° (previous record 91° in 1986)Oklahoma City
92° (ties same in 1918)Wichita Falls, Texas
97° (previous 96° in 1929)Amarillo, Texas
98° (ties same in 1940)Medicine Lodge, Kansas
102° (previous record 95° in 1986)Salina, Kansas
101° (previous record 94° in 1955)
Altus (KAXS), Oklahoma reportedly hit 104.4° and once again was the hottest location in the U.S. for the day. Today (May 7th) is shaping up to be yet another record-breaker across the same region.All of Kansas has seen much below normal precipitation so far this year, with the past three months at or below 25% of normal for a large portion of the state. Wichita is on the brink of having its driest start to a year since records began there in 1888.
Map from NWS-Wichita.
Accompanying the heat is a record or near-record dry start to the year. Waco, Texas and San Angelo, Texas are both off to their driest starts to a year on record as will be Wichita, Kansas if it doesn’t rain more than .36” by tomorrow, May 8th. Thunderstorms are in the forecast however.Note that the tables for San Angelo and Abilene were as of April 30th. Since then San Angelo has moved into first place and Abilene has moved into 3rd place
Tables from NWS-San Angelo and NWS-Dallas.As the above graph illustrates, San Angelo is now experiencing its driest start to a year on record (POR began in 1907).
Adding to the heat and drought have been brush fires across the region, the worst of which was a ‘controlled’ burn near Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 5th that got out of control and consumed 3000 acres, about 6 homes, and 20 other structures with the loss of one life. A new fire ignited on Tuesday evening (May 6th) in Woodward County (about 130 miles west of Guthrie) and has resulted in more forced evacuations and two injuries.Firefighters work to extinguish a flare-up near Guthrie, Oklahoma on Monday.
Photo by Nick Oxford, AP.
Meanwhile, a late season snowstorm will affect the higher elevations of the Rockies today and tomorrow (May 7-8) with accumulations of 8”-12” possible above 8,000’.Precipitation and snowfall forecast for the next 48 hours as of 14:00Z May 6th. Hopefully, some of this precipitation will move east and eventually impact the drought-stricken regions of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Map courtesy of Thomas Niziol at The Weather Channel.
I will be away on family business until next Monday, so this will be last blog until either Tuesday or Wednesday next week.
Christopher C. Burt