2015 is coming to an end and it sure has been a busy one in regards to weather. From the winter weather to start the year, to the flooding in May, the busy severe storm season, and then the WARM December to top it all off. I’ll detail what we saw this year and how it compared to other years/records.
I want to start with some disclaimers
- Temperature readings in this blog were taken from the North Texas Regional Airport in Grayson County (stays consistent with what we show on air).
- Lake elevation readings were taken from the US Army Corps of Engineers for Oklahoma Lakes and from Water Data for Texas for Lake Bonham. The reading for the “end” of 2015 was at 8 pm for this blog in particular.
- Information regarding tornadoes was taken from the National Weather Service offices in Norman, OK and Ft. Worth, TX.
To say that this year was a record breaking year in regards to rainfall would probably be an understatement. The drought ended, flooding occurred multiple times, and that was just in the Spring. More rain continued to fall into the end of Fall and beginning of Winter.
Out of 18 locations we measure rainfall in Texoma (Pauls Valley, Ardmore, Gainesville, Ada, Tishomingo, Madill, Denison/Sherman, Coalgate, Atoka, Durant, Bonham, Paris, McAlester, Antlers, Hugo, Clayton, Broken Bow, and Idabel), there were 4 months that all locations received above average rainfall.
February, August, and September all averaged below normal rainfall for most of Texoma (with all 3 months averaging less than 2″ below normal). Taking all the months and all the locations, Texoma average 78.2″ of rain which is 33.4″ above the average of 44.8″.
But wait! There has to be one place that flooded past the normal and one that was “closest”, right? Well yes! Again, out of the 18 places we measure for the KTEN viewing area, Gainesville was the “biggest winner” (?) and Antlers was the “closest”. Gainesville received 87.7″ of rain which is 45″ above what is considered normal for a calendar year; Antlers received 72.6″ which is 23.2″ above the normal.
I am so thankful that the drought ended in Texoma, but this rainfall also brought some devastation to the KTEN viewing area. If you want to see some pictures you can check out my post from mid-May with some viewer pictures that came in.
It was a crazy year for lakes after all the rainfall than not only fell in the lakes but also all the runoff that made it into the lakes.
Lake Texoma went over the spillway 2 times in 2015 with the highest lake level at 645.65 ft. When 2015 started the lake was at 611.46 ft and ended (again this reading was taken at 8pm on 12/31) at 625.5 ft.
Lake Waurika started the year at 932.89 ft and climbed to a max of 954.1 ft before ending 2015 at 652.45 ft.
Lake of the Arbuckles reached a peak of 888.19 ft after starting at 862.95 ft. By the time New Years Eve rolled around, the lake level was back at 882.69 ft.
Lake Bonham didn’t have a drastic change this year. Started at 561.73 ft, topped out at 566.81 ft, and then dropped to 565.7 ft.
Sardis Lake ended 2015 at 607.29 ft after starting at 599.11 ft. The peak lake level was 610.69 ft.
Hugo Lake became a very full lake in 2015. Starting at 406.06 ft, it topped out at 437.88 ft but dropped to 433.19 ft by the end of the year.
Pat Mayse Lake changed a decent amount after starting at 449.15 ft, it ended at 461.31 ft. The peak level was 461.61 in December.
Broken Bow Lake is one of the last lakes in Oklahoma as you move east out of Texoma and was one of the most full lakes this year in our area. Started at 594.45 ft, peaked at 628.66 ft, then by the end up the year was back up 626.56 ft.
Record rainfall, lake levels doing well, what else could 2015 have brought us? Well warm temperatures is one thing!
The breakdown of what each month saw can be seen below, but here are the highlights:
64% of the days in 2015, which is 234 days, had high temperatures above the normal temperature for that day. January through May, and November were split pretty much down the middle with warmer days and at or below normal days. The other months (June through October, and December) had more warm days than not.
February and May averaged cooler than normal, but only by a couple of degrees; October and December both average 8° warmer than normal; while March actually averaged just about the same.
The hottest temperature recorded at the North Texas Regional Airport was 102° on August 10th with the coldest temperature being 11° back in January on the 8th and the 9th.
- January – 16 days above normal, 15 days at or below normal
February – 11 days above normal, 18 days at or below normal
March – 16 days above normal, 15 days at or below normal
- April – 15 days above normal, 15 days at or below normal
- May – 16 days above normal, 15 days at or below normal
June – 22 days above normal, 8 days at or below normal
July – 22 days above normal, 9 days at or below normal
August – 24 days above normal, 7 days at or below normal
September – 27 days above normal, 3 days at or below normal
October – 25 days above normal, 6 days at or below normal
November – 17 days above normal, 13 days at or below normal
- December – 23 days above normal, 8 days at or below normal
It was also a busy year in regards to severe weather. At the beginning of the spring, many people asked if we were ever going to have a severe storm season…don’t forget – severe storm season is all year round as we learned this year.
Remembering that we have 4 weather service offices that cover our area, it was a busy year. For the Fort Worth/Dallas office (which covers 46 counties in north central Texas), there were 76 tornadoes for 2015; the state of Oklahoma saw 109 tornadoes (EF0: 57, EF1: 38, EF2: 10, EF4: 4). The total of 109 put 2015 as the 3rd highest number of tornadoes in a given year right behind 2011 with 119 and 1999 with 145.
Narrowed down to Texoma, there were 22 tornadoes for the year of 2015; 1 in Grayson County (TX) and 21 on the Oklahoma side of our area. The strongest tornado was an EF3 that tore a path from Blue (in Bryan Co) to Caney (in Atoka Co), this tornado left 1 dead and 1 injured (more details can be found below).
The one in Grayson county ripped through on May 10th near Carpenter’s Bluff causing lots of damage to trees and even one church. This particular one was rated an EF1 with winds around 105 mph. The track was 2.6 miles long and at times was 100 yards wide.
Detailing what the Oklahoma side of Texoma saw is going to be a little different since there were many more tornadoes. First, I’ll break it down by county:
- McCurtain – 3
- Atoka – 3 (one crossed from Bryan into Atoka)
- Carter – 2
- Love – 2
- Bryan – 2
- Pushmataha – 2
- Choctaw – 1
- Marshall – 1
Even as a meteorologist, I have to admit that tornadoes are a scary thing, especially as they move through in the darkness. Tornadoes can rip apart lives, damage and destroy memories, and forever scar someone with fear. The tornadoes that came through this year are no different.
- EF0 – June 17th, near Redland, 0.12 miles long, 66 yds wide
- EF1 – November 5th, near Bokhoma, 4.5 miles long, 256 yds wide
- EF2 – December 12th, near Valliant, 7.4 miles long, 600 yds wide, left 3 injured
- EF1 – May 25th, near Stringtown, 1 mile long, 400 yds wide
– May 25th, near Harmony, 8 miles long, 1000 yds wide
– May 25th, Blue (Bryan co) to Caney, 19 miles long, 700 yds wide, left 1 dead and 1 injured
- EF0 – May 19th, near Wilson, 0.3 miles long, 30 yds wide
- EF0 – May 19th, near Wilson, 1.5 miles long, 50 yds wide
- EF0 – May 9th, near Thackerville, 0.3 miles long, 30 yds wide
– May 9th, near Marietta, 0.3 miles long, 30 yds wide
- EF1 – May 9th, Silo to Durant, 5 miles long, 200 yds wide
- EF0 – May 10th, near Moyers, 1.7 miles long, 100 yds wide
– May 25th, Clayton to Yanush (Latimer co), 13.3 miles long, 1000 yds wide
- EF0 – May 23rd, near Sulphur, 2 miles long, 40 yds wide
- EF0 – May 23rd, near Sulphur, 0.5 miles long 50 yds wide
- EF0 – May 23rd, near Ada, 0.2 miles long, 20 yds wide
- EF1 – May 23rd, Francis to Sasakwa (Seminole co), 4 miles long, 100 yds wide
- EF0 – May 23rd, near Stratford, 0.2 miles long, 50 yds wide
- EF1 – May 23rd, near Maysville, 0.5 miles long, 50 yds wide
- EF1 – December 12th, near Towson, 3.3 miles long, 250 yds wide
- EF0 – May 9th, near Willis, 3 miles long, 200 yds wide
Here are some other crazy things that happened weather wise in 2015 from the Oklahoma Mesonet
2015 is coming to an end, can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring to Texoma. Let us hope for no more flooding rains, no more drought, and a calm severe weather season. Even though it seems like severe weather season is so far away, 2015 did teach us that we need to be prepared for anything! Don’t forget to have your weather safety plan prepared year round. Happy New Year Texoma!
If you would like more detailed information or have a question – feel free to comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here comes 2016!