Drought Could Mean Less Active Storm, Tornado Season for Oklahoma

Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma can expect warmer than normal temps for the next 90 days.

Lake levels aren't the only thing impacted by Oklahoma's drought.

The severe lack of rainfall during the past couple of years could mean a less active tornado and severe storm season.

The Impact of the Drought

This month Oklahoma received above average precipitation for the first time in six month's thanks to last week's winter storms. However even with the incredible moisture we've received recently, we still need more.

Month after month for more than a couple of years now, eastern Oklahoma and much of the state and region have experienced below normal precipitation. While our storms have provided a much needed boost to our area watering holes, lake levels are still several feet below normal.

For the last 10 to 15 years, the trends for Oklahoma have been rising temperatures and limited moisture.

The Next 90 Days: No Drought Relief in Sight

Right now forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center are calling for more of the same. Oklahomans can expect warmer than normal temps through May.

With an ongoing drought and no major shifts in our weather pattern, this spring our normal wet season appears to another dry one. All signs point to near normal to drier than normal conditions continuing through May and beyond.

That doesn't mean we won't see rain, storms or tornadoes, but with limited moisture at the surface Oklahoma won't see too many storms.

Less Active Storm, Tornado Season Expected

To get the atmosphere energized we would need about 8 to 12 inches of good solid moisture through the end of March and into April.

The likelihood Oklahoma will get that much rain or snow in the next 30 to 60 days doesn't look promising, according to the latest weather models.

However, it's a totally different scene to our east. It appears for now the severe storm zone has moved into our neighboring states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, into the Great Lakes and all the way to the east coast.

Busy Storm Season to Our East

The reason why? Those states aren't in the middle of a drought. They have a lot more moisture to work with, which is exactly what is needed for storms to form. We may have the wind, which is also a key ingredient in helping storms develop, but with limited moisture at the surface, it looks like our storm season won't be as active as years past.

But don't let your guard down. If it's anything like last year, we will most likely still see our fair share of strong to severe storms and even tornadoes. Oklahoma saw about 50 tornados in 2012, which is about average for the Sooner state.

However, most of them were weak with winds between 60 to 110 mph. It doesn't minimize the fact that even one weak tornadoes can be deadly.

To make sure you're prepared for severe weather season, download our KTUL Weather app today.