2003 Weather Review

JANUARY
High for the month: 76 / 28th
Low for the month: 15 / 23rd & 24th
Average monthly temperature: 39.5 / 3.7 above normal
Monthly precipitation: Trace / 0.63" below normal
Monthly snowfall: Trace / 4.0" below normal

Record: 76 on 28th

A strong cold front moved through the Panhandles on New Years Day as winds reached 55 mph and a trace of snow was observed at the National Weather Service (NWS). The trace of snow was also the total precipitation for the month and the beginning of a long dry year for the Southern Texas Panhandle. The same front brought 1 to 2 inches of snow across the Oklahoma Panhandle. Cold Arctic air settled over the Panhandles from the 22nd through the 24th, which was the coldest outbreak of the month.

FEBRUARY
High for the month: 76 / 1st
Low for the month: 4 / 24th
Average monthly temperature: 37.6 / 3.0 below normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.20 / 0.35" below normal
Monthly snowfall: 1.1" / 2.8" below normal

Record: Low max temperature: 15 / 24th

Most areas of the Northern Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles received 1 to 2 inches of snow on the 5th and 6th. Lipscomb County reported 3 to 4 inches. Across the Southern Texas Panhandle, amounts were generally less than 1 inch, with the Amarillo NWS reporting 0.4 inches. On the 9th, a cold front moved south through the Panhandles with beneficial amounts of snow in a relatively small area occurred across the Southeastern Texas Panhandle. Roberts and Hemphill Counties received 1 to 2 inches, while 5 to 7 inches fell in Gray and Wheeler Counties. A brutal arctic cold front accounted for 1 to 2 inches of snow in Beaver and Lipscomb Counties on the 22nd and 23rd, and resulted in dangerous wind chill values of minus 5 to minus 15 degrees through the 25th.

MARCH
High for the month: 80 / 16th
Low for the month: 15 / 5th
Average monthly temperature: 48.0 / 0.1 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.88" / 0.25" below normal
Monthly snowfall: 0.3" / 2.4" below normal

The month started off colder than normal as cold north winds prevailed across the Panhandles. However, warmer than normal temperatures occurred during the middle of the month. Cold, light rains occurred on the 19th and 21st. A strong cold front moved south through the Panhandles on the 27th and 28th, and was accompanied by light snow.

APRIL
High for the month: 88 / 13th & 29th
Low for the month: 26 / 7th & 8th
Average monthly temperature: 58.6 / 2.4 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.28" / 1.05" below normal

Except for a cold snap that affected the Panhandles on the 7th and 8th, the month was relatively warm and dry. The first severe thunderstorms of the year occurred on the 15th. Penny size hail was reported in Beaver, Deaf Smith and Randall Counties. Golfball size hail and a F0 tornado were reported in Wheeler County. In addition, sustained winds of 35 to 40 mph were common over the Panhandles on the 15th with a max gust of 55 mph reported at Rick Husband International Airport. Wind damage was reported in portions of Carson, Randall and Collingsworth Counties. Severe thunderstorms occurred during the morning hours of the 23rd over Dallam, Hartley and Hutchinson Counties. A F1 tornado touched down in Donley County with some damage reported in Clarendon. Once again, sustained winds reached 35 to 40 miles per hour on the 23rd and 24th. A disturbance moving over the Panhandles on the 28th accounted for penny to quarter size hail in the Amarillo area along with street flooding. Quarter size hail was also reported in Dumas.


MAY
High for the month: 99 / 18th
Low for the month: 39 / 5th
Average monthly temperature: 66.9 / 1.7 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 1.46 / 1.04 below normal

Record: 15th/ 26 tornadoes in one day

May was another warm and dry month. Severe thunderstorms developed over the Southeast Texas Panhandle on the 3rd with golfball size hail reported in Collingsworth County. On the 4th, sustained winds of 35 to 40 mph and a max gust of 49 miles per hour was recorded at the airport in Amarillo. The worst tornado outbreak on record occurred across the Panhandles on the 15th. The first tornado of the day touched down at 4:12 pm near Boise City, OK. The final tornado of this outbreak touched down 2 miles south of Kelton in Wheeler county at 11:07 pm. In all, 26 tornados were reported, one F2, four F1's, and the remainder rated F0. Over a million dollars in damage occurred across the Panhandles, with the most significant damage reported in Wheeler & Dallam Counties in the Texas Panhandle and in Texas County of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Large hail, up to baseball size, occurred across much of the Panhandles. Severe thunderstorms, with large hail occurred again on the 23rd in the Southern Texas Panhandle. Severe thunderstorm developed again on the 24th over the Central Texas Panhandle when two weak tornados touched down and softball size hail resulted in minor damage in Gray County.

JUNE
High for the month: 92 / 11th & 23rd
Low for the month: 49 / 6th
Average monthly temperature: 69.8 / 4.5 below normal
Monthly precipitation: 6.42 / 3.14 above normal

June was a unseasonably cool and wet month. It was the only month where the monthly precipitation was above normal. A severe thunderstorm produced penny size hail in Amarillo on the 1st. On the 2nd, severe thunderstorms developed with golfball size hail being reported in Texline in Dallam County. Heavy rains resulted in flash flooding in Canyon and at the Palo Duro State Park overnight. Severe thunderstorms fired up again on the 3rd. Deaf Smith County reported 2 brief tornados near Simms, penny size hail, and highway flooding at Milo Center. Randall County also reported penny size hail near Umbarger. For the third day in a row, severe thunderstorms developed again. Nickel size hail was reported near Kenton in the Oklahoma Panhandle. In the Texas Panhandle, golfball size hail and 60 mph winds were observed in Texline. The storms produced flooding rainfall in Oldham and Deaf Smith counties. On June 4th, for the 4th straight day, severe thunderstorms affected the Panhandles. This time the Central Oklahoma and Central Texas Panhandles felt the brunt of the storms. Thunderstorm wind gusts over 60 mph were measured near Hooker in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Damaging wind gusts and a tornado in Hansford County resulted in major damage to several grain elevators and farm buildings and other structures in its path. Thunderstorm wind gusts of 60 mph and street flooding was widespread across Amarillo. Major street flooding was reported in Canyon. A few severe thunderstorms on the 9th produced quarter size hail in Randall, Hutchinson, Hansford and Ochiltree Counties. Severe thunderstorms with hail up to golfball size was reported on the 11th and 13th affecting portions of Beaver, Hartley, Potter, Ochiltree, and Hansford Counties. These storms also caused flash flooding in Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Hemphill, Oldham, Texas and Deaf Smith Counties. On the 20th and 21st, flash flooding and strong gusty winds hit the Panhandles again. The Southern Texas Panhandle was hardest hit. The airport in Amarillo reported 2.07 inches of rain, the biggest event total of the year. The Oklahoma and Northern Texas Panhandle was the target for severe thunderstorms on th 23rd and 24th with baseball size hail occurring near Keyes in Cimarron County. Nickel hail and winds over 60 mph were also reported in near Dalhart and in Beaver County. Severe thunderstorms near Tyrone in Texas County produced 75 mph wind gusts on the 28th. Portions of Deaf Smith and Potter Counties received hail up to golfball size on the 29th.

July
High for the month: 103 / 14th
Low for the month: 59 / 4th
Average monthly temperature: 80.0 / 1.8 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.09" / 2.59" below normal

After an active and wet June, hot and dry was the rule for July. Only one severe thunderstorm occurred on the 9th when nickel size hail fell in Allison in Wheeler County. Temperatures soared over 100 degrees from the 12th through the 15th. An isolated thunderstorm on the 11th produced the only measurable precipitation of the month in Amarillo of 0.09 inches.

AUGUST
High for the month: 105 / 7th & 8th
Low for the month: 56 / 13th
Average monthly temperature: 79.3 / 3.0 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.80" / 2.14" below normal

Records: High: 104 / 4th
High: 105 / 7th
High: 105 / 8th

Six of the first eight days of the month were 100 degrees or warmer, with 3 record high temperatures set. Fortunately, the month ended cool and wet. Strong thunderstorm winds on the 3rd and 4th caused damage in Texas County in the Oklahoma Panhandle and also in Randall, Gray, Wheeler and Donley Counties in the Texas Panhandle. Severe thunderstorms occurred again on the 9th in Texas and Beaver Counties resulting in wind gusts of over 60 mph. Thunderstorms in city of Canyon on the 29th and 30th, resulted in significant flash flooding, stranding cars and flooding some homes.

SEPTEMBER
High for the month: 96 / 16th
Low for the month: 45 / 19th
Average monthly temperature: 67.7 / 1.4 below normal
Monthly precipitation: 1.81" / 0.07" below normal

September was a little cooler than normal, with precipitation near normal. Winds gusted to 51 mph at the Amarillo airport on the 20th. Thunderstorms, some severe, produced heavy rainfall and large hail on the 7th. More than half of the monthly precipitation in Amarillo occurred on the 7th. Flooding rains fell in Dumas and quarter size hail fell near Channing. On the 9th, severe thunderstorms roared across the Texas Panhandle with 62 mph wind gusts in Dalhart, quarter size hail in Hartley and Oldham Counties , and flooding in Eastern Oldham County. Quarter size hail, 60 mph wind gusts, and extensive flooding occurred over the Southeast Texas Panhandle on the 10th and 11th. Severe thunderstorms struck the Oklahoma Panhandle on the 20th with severe hail reported near Tyrone, Guymon, and Balko.

OCTOBER
High for the month: 90 / 19th , 20th & 23rd
Low for the month: 31 / 26th
Average monthly temperature: 61.6 / 3.4 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.95" / 0.55" below normal

Records: High: 90 / 19th
High: 90 / 20th
High: 90 / 23rd

The month was warm for early fall. The 0.91 inches of rain that fell on the 8th accounted for most of the 0.95 inches for the month in Amarillo. No severe weather occurred in the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles this month. A strong cold front on the 25th resulting in the first freeze for the Oklahoma and Northern Texas Panhandle on the morning of the 26th.

NOVEMBER
High for the month: 83 / 3rd High: 81 / 11th
Low for the month: 11 / 24th
Average monthly temperature: 47.5 / 2.4 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.44" / 0.24" below normal
Record: High: 81 / 11th

The warmer than normal fall continued through November. The 0.40 inches of rain that fell on the 13th accounted for most of the 0.44 inches of precipitation that fell for the month. Cold arctic air spilled into the Panhandles on the evening of the 22nd. Overnight low temperatures fell into the teens and single digits on the mornings of the 23rd and 24th.

DECEMBER
High for the month: 77 / 21st
Low for the month: 18 / 16th & 17th
Average monthly temperature: 40.8 / 3.4 above normal
Monthly precipitation: 0.09" / 0.40" below normal

Record: High: 75 / 7th

The first snows of the season fell in the extreme Northern Texas Panhandle on the 9th where 1 to 3 inches was reported. Heavy snows across Oklahoma and Northern Texas Panhandles on 12th and 13th resulted in 3 to 5 inches of snow. Measurable snow fell again on the 22nd across the same areas where storm totals of 1 to 3 inches was reported. The snow was accompanied by strong north winds which resulted in considerable blowing and drifting of the snow.

YEAR 2003 SUMMARY

Annual Statistics
High for the year: 105 / August 7th & 8th
Low for the year: 4 / February 24th
Average annual temperature: 58.1 / 1.2 above normal
Annual precipitation: 13.42" / 6.17" below normal
Annual snowfall: 1.9" / 13.7 below normal

Tied 22nd warmest year on record
Ranked 8th driest since 1892
Driest year since 1980.
June was the only month of the year to record above normal precipitation.


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