Goodbye summer of 2011

The calendar will tell you autumn begins Sept. 23. I say it began yesterday.

After a long, hot and very dry summer, it couldn't come soon enough. The long awaited pattern change is under way, bringing us rain, cooler temperatures and a reintroduction to our fall wardrobe.

Tuesday's high in Tulsa was 101 degrees, the 44th time we reached or exceeded 100 degrees this summer.  August was our fifth warmest on record.

The Tulsa National Weather Service's website listed the following records tied or broken during this summer:

* Daily records set or tied this month include a record warm max temperature on 8/1/11 (tied), 8/2/11, 8/3/11, 8/5/11, 8/6/11 (tied) and 8/24/11;

* Record warm min temp. on 8/1/11 (tied), 8/2/11, 8/5/11, 8/23/11 and 8/24/11;

* Record warm mean temps on 8/1/11, 8/2/11, 8/3/11, 8/5/11, 8/24/11 and 8/31/11.

* The low temperature of 87 degrees on 8/2/11 also tied the all-time record warm min temperature that was previously set on 7/26/1980.

* The mean temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit on 8/2/11 set the all-time record warm mean temperature.

Also, when you look at what we call "meteorological summer," which is June through August,our temperatures were the second hottest on record. This was only exceeded by the record summer of 1980.

The Oklahoma Climatological Survey reported that for the period of Oct. 1, 2010 through Aug. 31 of this year northeast Oklahoma ranked as the 11th driest on record.

During August the U.S. Drought Monitor advanced the area of "Extreme Drought" east into portions of Green Country. Farmers and ranchers have had some extreme conditions these past few months. Water levels on farm ponds and lakes are well below normal and I'm told the dirt in southwest Oklahoma is as hard as concrete.

Most will tell you they had very few, if any, tomatoes this summer.  It was just too hot to set blossoms.  Now that we've cooled a few degrees, I am finally getting a few late bloomers. 

The Climate Prediction Center's outlook for September through November isn't too optimistic. It shows higher chances of above-normal temperatures and higher chances for below-normal rainfall. But as we slide into late September and October know that days will be shorter and temperatures will be much cooler than the summer of 2011.

Here's hoping for a real fall this year, not quite ready for winter just yet. A few months of 60s and 70s with a few cloudy and rainy days would erase the scorched memory of one of the hottest summers on record.  Look at it this way, you will have something to tell your grandchildren about someday.

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