The climate of Oklahoma
experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the eastern part of the state, with hot, humid summers and mild to cold winters. The western portion, including the panhandle transitions to semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), with extreme temperatures. Oklahoma is part of the South Central United States. It shares borders with Missouri in the northeast, Arkansas in the east, Texas in the south and west, New Mexico and Colorado in the northwest and Kansas in the north. Mountain ranges and the Gulf of Mexico primarily influence the climate of the state.
Oklahoma, the Sooner State, is home to two major rivers, the Red and the Arkansas, and four mountain ranges: the Wichita, the Arbuckle, the Ouachita, and the Ozark. Oklahoma has an average elevation of 400 meters, with Black Mesa as the highest point at 1516 meters. The topography mainly consists of prairie, plains, rolling hills, mesas, and canyons. The terrain slopes from the High Plains of the west to wetlands in the east. Eastern Oklahoma consists of eight of the eleven ecological regions in the geographically diverse state. Marshlands and forests overshadow the southeast, while oak, elm, cedar, and pine forests dominate the northeast.
Summers are long and hot in Oklahoma. The south and eastern parts are more humid, moist, and cloudy than the western region. Temperatures above 100°F (37.8°C) occur from 15 to 35 days in the summer while moving from east to west, while temperatures above 90°F (32.2°C) range occur from 65 to 115 days in the year. Winter is cold in the panhandle and the west, where temperatures are below freezing for 110 to 140 days in the year. The southeast sees an average of 60 nights below freezing annually. Freezing temperatures occur by mid-October
in the fall season and end by mid-April
in the spring season. Soil freezes up to a depth of 3" (76mm) to 10" (254mm) in the state.
Oklahoma receives annual rainfall that increases sharply from a scanty 18" (457mm) in the west to an ample 56" (1422mm) in the east and south. May
has the maximum precipitation in the year and is closely followed by September
in the eastern portion of the state. The panhandle and adjacent western regions are wettest during June
. Snowfall varies from 2" (51mm) in the east to 30" (762mm) in the panhandle. Northwest Oklahoma has several incidences of snowfall, but the snow rarely remains on the ground for more than a few days. The annual sunshine is ample and registers between 2500 hours to 3100 hours in the state.
Oklahoma's highest recorded temperature is 120°F (48.9°C) at Tipton on June 27, 1994, while the record for the lowest is -27°F (-32.8°C) at Watts on January
The best time to visit Oklahoma
The best time to visit Oklahoma
is during the fall from September
when the weather is mild. Day temperatures are bearable during the autumn and cool down further in the latter part of the season. The humidity is low compared to the peak of summer, and the conditions are pleasant in late fall. The fall season sees less number of tornadoes and thunderstorms than spring and summer. Summer temperatures easily cross 100°F (37.8°C) and remain above it for days on end. The fall season is especially colorful in forested areas of the northeast and southeast.
The worst time to visit Oklahoma
The worst time to visit Oklahoma
is during the peak of summer when the temperatures reach scorching levels. The ultraviolet rays of the sun reach dangerous levels, and the conditions are extremely hot. The eastern part of the state is humid, while the western part receives most of its rainfall during the summer. Thunderstorms are frequent and add to the convectional precipitation that occurs in the hot season. Additionally, tornadoes are active during the summer and can throw a spanner in vacation plans.
is prone to droughts, floods, wildfires, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and snowstorms. Drought is a recurring phenomenon in the western part with scanty rainfall. Dry conditions often pose a risk of wildfires. Flash flooding of local streams and creeks are common during short periods of intense rainfall. Flooding happens during periods of excessive rainfall in the late spring and early fall periods. Winters are susceptible to freezing rain that leads to hazardous roads. Ice cover can cause extensive damage to power lines and property due to falling tree limbs. Snowstorms are rare but cause disruptions to everyday life when they occur. Oklahoma lies in the center of the Tornado Alley and is subject to tornadoes of intense nature with damaging winds. Sixty-two tornadoes occur on an average in the year, with the maximum during the spring season. Thunderstorms bring heavy rain during the summer.
Weather in January
is the coldest month of the year in Oklahoma
, with the winter at its peak. The average low temperatures are in the frigid 19°F (-7.2°C) to 31°F (-0.6°C), while the average high temperatures are in the 46°F (7.8°C) to 53°F (11.7°C) zone. Weather in January »
Weather in February
is cold in Oklahoma
as the average temperatures are in the cold 22°F (-5.6°C) to mild 59°F (15°C) zone across the state. Nights are regularly below freezing as temperatures dip below 20°F (-6.7°C) in Beaver in the west. Weather in February »
Weather in March
gradually transitions from cold to warm weather in Oklahoma
with the arrival of the spring season. Freezing temperatures subside by mid-March in the south and east. The ground thaws by the end of March in the north and west. Day high temperatures average in the mild 59°F (15°C) to 67°F (19.4°C), but nights are cold between 59°F (15°C) to 67°F (19.4°C). Weather in March »
Weather in April
has comfortable temperatures in Oklahoma
with warm days and mild nights. The last remnants of snow disappear by mid-April except for a few places in the high mountains. Spring brings fresh air, sweet aroma of the soil, migratory birds, and greenery over the landscape. The average high temperatures are in the beautiful range of 70°F (21.1°C) to 75°F (23.9°C), while nights are comfortable in the 45°F (7.2°C) to 50°F (10°C) zone. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is the wettest month of the year in Oklahoma
and has the highest incidence of tornadoes. The average high temperatures are in the comfortable 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C), while the nights are in the average range of 56°F (13.3°C) to 62°F (16.7°C). Weather in May »
Weather in June
is the beginning of the hot summer in Oklahoma
, with long days under the relentless sun. Day high temperatures average between 84°F (28.9°C) to 92°F (33.3°C), but many days register above 100°F (37.8°C). The humidity adds to the heat factor as the conditions become oppressive. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is usually the hottest month of the year in Oklahoma
with the average high temperatures climbing in the hot 90°F (32.2°C) to 97°F (36.1°C) zone. Nights are cooler with the average temperatures in the 66°F (18.9°C) to 72°F (22.2°C). Weather in July »
Weather in August
is a hot summer month in Oklahoma
with long days and bright sunshine. The average high temperatures are in the harsh 92°F (33.3°C) to 96°F (35.6°C) zone, while the nights fare better in the range of 65°F (18.3°C) to 73°F (22.8°C). The rainfall is in the 3" (76mm) to 4" (102mm) range with a decrease in storm activity. Weather in August »
Weather in September
welcomes the beautiful fall season to Oklahoma
with a drop in temperatures and humidity. The hot and humid air masses from the south frequently interact with the cold air from the north to bring drastic changes in the weather. Weather in September »
Weather in October
is one of the best times to visit Oklahoma
as the landscape bathes in brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow, and magenta. The fall foliage is at its peak as the natural beauty of the region combines with the brilliant colors of the changing leaves. Weather in October »
Weather in November
brings mild temperatures to Oklahoma
as the autumn season winds up steadily. The average high temperatures drop to the mild range of 59°F (15°C) to 64°F (17.8°C), while the average low temperatures enter the cold zone of 29°F (-1.7°C) to 43°F (6.1°C). Weather in November »
Weather in December
brings cold weather in Oklahoma
with short days and moderate sunshine. The average high temperatures are in the mild 46°F (7.8°C) to 54°F (12.2°C) range, while the average low temperatures lie in the cold 19°F (-7.2°C) to 33°F (0.6°C) zone. Western Oklahoma receives moderate snowfall up to 5" (127mm), while the rest of the state experiences light snow and occasional frost. Weather in December »