Oklahoma weather timeline - 1980-1989

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The Oklahoma Weather Timeline provides a decade-by-decade listing of interesting or disastrous events that have occurred in Oklahoma's weather history. For more detailed daily summaries (since 2003) please view the Oklahoma monthly climate summaries.


Timeline 1980-1989

1980: Oklahoma Climatological Survey established at the University of Oklahoma.

1980: Summer heat wave: daily maximum temperature at Oklahoma City exceeded 100 degrees 50 times during the season.

1980: Driest July of century with a statewide-averaged precipitation of 0.41 inch.

1981 October 10-17: Remnants of Hurricane Norma produce as much as 18 inches of rain in 36 hours in south central Oklahoma (Kingston-Madill-Tishomingo).

1982: 101 tornadoes, 3rd most in one year since 1950.

1983 October 17-23: Remnants of Hurricane Tico produce up to 10-15 inches of rain, extensive flooding, from Rush Springs to Shawnee. Damages estimated at $84M, including $77M to agriculture.

1983: 92 tornadoes, 5th most in one year since 1950.

1982-1983: 193 tornadoes, 2nd greatest number of tornadoes in consecutive years.

1983: Coldest April of century with a statewide-averaged temperature of 54.0 degrees.

1983: Coldest December of century with a statewide averaged temperature of 26.5 degrees. Oklahoma City temperature did not exceed freezing from 17th through the 31st.

1984 May 26-27: Tulsa Memorial Day flood – more than 12 inches of rain overnight, subsequent flooding left 14 dead, destroyed or damaged 5,500 homes and over 7,000 vehicles. In reaction to this disaster, Tulsa launched a massive flood prevention and warning system that remains among the most effective public safety programs in the nation.

1984: Wettest December of century with a statewide-averaged precipitation of 4.98 inches.

1986: Driest January of century with a statewide averaged precipitation of 0.04 inches.

1986 September 30-October 4: Remnants of Hurricane Paine produce rains of around 10 inches in western and central Oklahoma and as much as 20 inches in north central Oklahoma. Major flooding on Arkansas River and its tributaries. Flooding was reported in 52 counties, damages estimated at $350M, half of that to agriculture.

1987 May 29-30: Intense thunderstorm producing 5 to 11 inches of rain produced flash flooding in Chickasha, Lindsey, and Pauls Valley.

1987 mid-December through early January 1988: Series of winter storms. December 13-15: 8 to 14 inches of snow over northwest half of state, drifting up to 4 feet. December 25-27: Intense ice storm along 40-mile-wide stretch from Duncan to Norman to Tulsa and on to Miami left 75,000 homes without power, one-third of those for as long as a week. Ice accumulations of one to two inches on power lines and trees led to $10M in damages. Flooding occurred on rivers just southeast of the ice storm. January 5-7, 1988: Heavy snow – 10 inches over much of the state with some areas receiving 16 to 18 inches. Rooftop drifts of two to three feet caused extensive damage.

1988: 17 tornadoes, fewest in one year during 1950-1999 period.

1988: Driest May of century with a statewide-averaged precipitation of 1.30 inches.

1989: Driest April of century with a statewide-averaged precipitation of 0.58 inch.

1988-89: 37 tornadoes, fewest in consecutive years since 1950.

1989: Cold outbreak March 3, temperatures fall over 50 degrees in a few hours, severe thunderstorms form over the cold air.