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.
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 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.
Spring weather in Oklahoma
Spring in Oklahoma
is a transitional phase with temperatures steadily rising. By mid-April
, the state sees an end to its freezing temperatures. However, the season also ushers in the first waves of tornadoes, especially given Oklahoma's position in "Tornado Alley." Rainfall is common during spring, with May
witnessing the maximum precipitation, especially in the eastern regions. Despite occasional storms, springtime also brings with it blooming flowers and lush green landscapes.
Summer weather in Oklahoma
Summer in Oklahoma
is synonymous with warmth and humidity. The southeastern regions become particularly humid, moist, and cloudy, whereas the western regions face soaring temperatures. It's not uncommon for temperatures to exceed 100°F for extended periods. Thunderstorms frequently punctuate the season, contributing to convectional precipitation. Moreover, the risk of tornadoes remains heightened during summer, especially in the central parts of the state.
Autumn weather in Oklahoma
Autumn marks a shift in Oklahoma
's climate, with temperatures gradually cooling down from the summer highs. The humidity also sees a decline, making the environment more agreeable. While September
continues the rainy trend, especially in the eastern portion, the frequency lessens as the season progresses. Forested areas in the northeast and southeast take on brilliant hues of gold, orange, and red, presenting an enchanting spectacle.
Winter weather in Oklahoma
Winters in Oklahoma
, particularly in the panhandle and the west, are cold, with temperatures often dipping below freezing. The southeast, however, experiences milder conditions, with only around 60 nights of freezing temperatures. Snowfall varies across the state, with 2" in the east and up to 30" in the panhandle. Even in areas with substantial snowfall, the snow seldom stays for extended periods. The winter sun, nonetheless, generously shines, offering between 2500 hours to 3100 hours of annual sunshine throughout the state.
Weather in January
is characterized by its winter chill, especially pronounced in the panhandle and the western regions. These areas, with their semi-arid climates, often record some of the lowest temperatures of the year. During January, the state witnesses temperatures ranging from lows near 20°F to highs around 50°F. The southeast, influenced by its humid subtropical climate, tends to be slightly milder in comparison. Weather in January »
Weather in February
heralds the continuation of winter in Oklahoma
, but with subtle changes signaling the impending shift to spring. The state sees temperatures fluctuating between lows of approximately 25°F and highs hovering around 55°F. Western Oklahoma, particularly the panhandle, continues to experience its trademark cold conditions, albeit with a slight rise in temperatures compared to January
. Weather in February »
Weather in March
ushers in the early stirrings of spring to Oklahoma
, bringing with it a mix of mild temperatures and increased precipitation. During this month, the state typically experiences temperatures ranging from lows of about 35°F to highs that touch 65°F. Western Oklahoma, particularly the panhandle, while experiencing a significant rise in temperatures from the previous months, still retains a cooler disposition. Weather in March »
Weather in April
is synonymous with the full onset of spring. The state undergoes a transformation as temperatures consistently warm, ranging between a comfortable 45°F to a pleasant 75°F. The western areas, including the panhandle, begin to shake off their cooler tendencies, embracing the warming trend. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is a vibrant month, standing at the crossroads between spring and summer. The state bathes in warmer temperatures, usually fluctuating between 55°F to a balmy 85°F. As the panhandle and the western zones experience consistent warmth, they also remain susceptible to occasional temperature spikes. Weather in May »
Weather in June
announces the firm arrival of summer in Oklahoma
, with the mercury often reaching between a warm 65°F and a hotter 95°F. As the state transitions into this sun-drenched period, the difference between the day and night temperatures starts to become more pronounced. In the panhandle and the broader western terrains, the semi-arid climate starts to manifest strongly, with temperatures often touching the higher end of the scale. Weather in June »
Weather in July
is characterized by the zenith of summer heat, where temperatures routinely lie between a toasty 70°F and an intense 100°F. This month often claims the title for the hottest in the year, with many areas experiencing relentless warmth. The panhandle and the western expanses of Oklahoma, influenced by their semi-arid climate, frequently experience days where temperatures soar to the upper limits, especially during mid-July. Weather in July »
Weather in August
is the bridge between the peak summer heat and the subtle hints of the approaching autumn. The temperatures generally hover between a warm 68°F and a scorching 98°F. As the month progresses, the intensity of the heat starts to wane, providing a gentle prelude to the cooler months ahead. The western terrains, including the panhandle, continue to experience the heat, albeit with a milder sting than July
. Weather in August »
Weather in September
heralds the onset of fall, bringing with it a refreshing respite from the summer's intense heat. Temperatures during this month transition, ranging from a comfortable 60°F to a more temperate 88°F. Weather in September »
Weather in October
is a vibrant showcase of autumn, where temperatures gracefully descend between 48°F and 78°F. This month, the chill in the air becomes more apparent, especially during the mornings and evenings, providing a stark contrast to the balmy summer days of just a few months prior. The western regions, encompassing the panhandle, experience a crispness that accentuates the semi-arid climate's characteristics. Weather in October »
Weather in November
ushers in a more profound coolness across Oklahoma
. With temperatures oscillating between a brisk 38°F and a mild 68°F, the month offers a tangible shift towards winter's embrace. The first half of November retains some warmth from October
, but by the month's end, a more consistent chill permeates the air. The drier, western reaches of the state, including the panhandle, brace for colder days and nights earlier than the eastern regions. Weather in November »
Weather in December
fully steps into winter's domain. The temperatures further drop, generally fluctuating between 28°F and 55°F, marking a definitive transition from the temperate days of the preceding months. Early mornings often greet the residents with a frosty touch, while evenings and nights can be notably chilly. The western expanses, inclusive of the panhandle, experience a pronounced cold, emblematic of their semi-arid climate. Weather in December »