2007 Weather Year in Review
The National Weather Service in Amarillo has compiled a summary of notable weather records and events for the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles for 2007. Included in this release are all the monthly statistics, records, and weather highlights for 2007.
The Panhandles are known for active and rapidly changing weather and the year 2007 was no exception. Tornado outbreaks, major winter storms, flooding, dry spells, strong winds, single digit temperatures and triple digit heat are just a few of the weather impacts from this past year. The moisture scale in Amarillo ranged from one of the wettest months on record in March, to a 36 day dry period between October 17 and November 22 when no measurable precipitation occurred. The spring months were particularly wet. The 10.05 inches of precipitation that fell in March, April and May made this spring the 7th wettest on record (dating back to 1892).
Temperatures also varied from the single digits in February to over 100 degrees in August and September. Furthermore, on two occasions the high temperature in Amarillo changed by more than 40 degrees between two consecutive days. A 42 degree increase occurred in February when the high temperature rose from 23 degrees on the 15th to 65 degrees on the 16th. The opposite occurred in November when the high temperature fell by 43 degrees from 85 degrees on the 20th to 42 degrees on the 21st.
Aside from the dramatic temperature swings, the year also brought significant tornado outbreaks in March, April and May with rare tornados in February and October. In one case, a severe weather event transitioned to a winter weather event the very next day. Certainly the year provided its share of dramatic weather. The following is a monthly summary of the weather from 2007.
YEAR 2007 SUMMARY
January of 2007 was in sharp contrast to January of 2006. Amarillo received 0.92 inches more precipitation than last year and the average monthly temperature was 11.2 degrees colder. In fact, the month was the coldest January since 1979. The colder air and increased moisture led to the most snowfall of the year. From January 19th through the 21st, a winter storm brought 7 to 10 inches of snow to the Panhandles including 8.5 inches of snow here in Amarillo. Cold temperatures caused the snow to melt very slowly. The result was 18 consecutive days from mid January to early February when at least a trace of snow remained on the ground in. This is the tenth longest period with snow on the ground since records began in 1892.
Hi: 76°, 23rd
Most of the significant weather for the month occurred on February 23rd and 24th. However, the ice that fell those two days was not from a winter storm; rather it was hail associated with an early severe outbreak. An early spring storm produced a mixed bag a severe weather including thunderstorm wind gusts over 60 mph, hail up to 1 inch in diameter, and a very rare February EF0 tornado near McLean. In addition, strong non thunderstorm winds occurred on the 24th across the northern Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles with wind speeds reaching near 70 mph. In general, February was drier and colder than normal for the first part of the month, but 7 of the last 10 days of the month witnessed high temperatures of greater than 65 degrees, which is more than 10 degrees above normal.
Winter weather also impacted the Panhandles in February. The two strongest storms brought a few inches of snow to Amarillo on February 1st and 2nd and again on the 14th. In fact, all but one tenth of the snow for February fell during these two events.
Hi: 86°, 18th
This March also turned out to be dramatically different from March of 2006. We received almost 2.5 inches more precipitation than in 2006, and our average temperature was 5.2 degrees warmer. The very warm and wet month provided plenty of severe weather including a record tornado outbreak on March 28th. During the evening hours of March 28th into the early morning hours on the 29th, a total of 15 tornados occurred within the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. Three of these tornados were rated as EF3’s. This became the largest tornado outbreak event on record for the month of March. Plus, there were a total of 19 tornados for the month, which was also a record. Sadly, three people were killed during the March 28th outbreak. These were the first tornado related fatalities since the May 7th, 1995 tornado event. In addition, there were multiple reports of large hail during this event including one report of softball size hail near the Pantex plant east of Amarillo.
The active severe weather season continued into April along with one last winter weather event. On April 13th, a cold airmass moved into the Panhandles and produced heavy snow accumulations near 6 inches across the Oklahoma and northern Texas Panhandle. The snowfall extended into the southern Texas Panhandle where a little over an inch fell in Amarillo. The interesting aspect of this event was the fact that severe weather occurred during the evening and nighttime hours on April 12th, and continued into the early morning hours on the 13th. These storms produced winds up to 95 mph with a few hail stones of 1 inch in diameter. The strong winds impacted northern portions of Amarillo by knocking down trees and power lines, and damaging roofs on many area homes, churches and business. The damage was especially severe in the Medi Park and La Paloma areas of northwest Amarillo. Once the severe weather ended, the winter weather began.
Undoubtedly the biggest severe weather event for the month was the April 21st tornado outbreak. This was also a record number of tornados to occur in a single event during the month of April. Of the 17 April tornados, 13 occurred on the 21st. Three of these tornados produced EF2 damage including the significant damage that occurred in Cactus Texas. A total of 14 people were injured in Cactus but fortunately no fatalities resulted from this outbreak.
Hi: 87°, 22nd
The most active severe weather month of the year came in May. Tornados occurred on three days during the month. The first round of tornados came on May 5th. Five tornados touched down across the southeast Texas Panhandle with the strongest tornado rated as an EF1. The second round came on May 23rd when 14 tornados impacted the northeast Texas Panhandle. Two of these tornados rated as an EF2 and both occurred in Lipscomb County. The final outbreak occurred on the last day of the month. Seven tornados formed on May 31st, all of which occurred in the Oklahoma Panhandle. One of these tornados rated as an EF1, but the other 6 were all rated as EF0. The Panhandles average about 21 tornados each year, so the 25 tornados in May alone surpassed the number of tornados expected in a normal year.
Tornados were not the only significant weather during May. There were 178 reports of hail and severe winds, with a few hail stones reaching the size of baseballs. In addition, heavy rain during the May 23rd tornado outbreak caused the Wolf Creek to flood in Ochiltree and Lipscomb Counties. The water remained above flood stage for nearly 4 days.
The severe weather also provided the Panhandles with above normal rainfall. In fact, the 5.40 inches of rain received in Amarillo ranked as the 13th wettest May on record (dating back to 1892).
Hi: 93°, 6th and 19th
Although the tornado production decreased dramatically in June, the severe weather continued. The only tornado for the month happened in Texas County, Oklahoma on the 19th and rated as an EF0. However, there were 151 reports of severe hail and wind gusts in June. The largest hail fell along with the tornado in Texas County where baseball sized hail was reported. Hail was not the only type of severe weather though. On June 19th, storms moved across the southeast Texas Panhandle and produced an estimated wind gust of 90 mph in and near the town of Wellington in Collingsworth County. Overall, June turned out to be unusually cool with the highest temperature only reaching 93 degrees. Normally June is the month in which the hottest temperatures and most 100 degree days occur.
Hi: 95°, 8th and 10th
July was another cooler and drier than normal summer month. There were three days in which severe weather occurred all falling in the second week of the month. On July 8th, 10th and 12th storms brought penny to quarter size hail and produced one flash flood in Texas County near Guymon Oklahoma. The flash flood was a result of heavy downpours that moved over Guymon on July 12th. A few roads were shut down in Guymon including Highways 412 and 136. Once again, the cooler air prevailed and Amarillo still did not reach 100 degrees.
Hi: 101°, 8th and 20th
The cooler-than-normal trend for this past summer quickly ended in August as the hot temperatures finally arrived. Almost half of the month (14 days) had high temperatures 95 degrees or hotter in Amarillo. The Oklahoma Panhandle was even warmer, with Guymon recording 14 days with 100 degree or hotter temperatures, including 11 in a row from the 5th through the 15th. The warm and dry weather led to a few wildfires that fortunately resulted in only minor damage. Flash flooding occurred in the southwest parts of Amarillo on the 2nd as over 2 inches of rain fell. Oddly enough, the National Weather Service in Amarillo officially recorded only 0.44 inches of precipitation that day. A few severe thunderstorms developed in August, but for most areas the month was dry.
The warm weather continued into September, but fortunately some moisture returned to the Panhandles. A major flash flood hit Canyon, Texas on September 9th. Five to seven inches of rain fell over Canyon causing many road closures and water damage in multiple homes, churches and businesses. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. Some severe hail and winds also occurred during the month, with no significant damage.
Hi: 92°, 4th
Hi: 85°, 20th
The warm and dry spell continued through November. In fact, there was only 1 day in which Amarillo recorded measurable precipitation. For the first time in recorded history, Amarillo observed 5 days where the high temperature met or exceeded 80° in November. Cold air finally reached the Panhandles during the last 10 days of the month. In fact, during the last 10 days of November, the average temperature was only 35.5°, which is about 10° below normal. This cold air also provided the first snowfall since April when nearly an inch of snow fell on November 23rd, the morning after Thanksgiving.
Hi: 77°, 7th
December started off warmer than normal. The average high temperature during the first week of the month was just above 65°, which is 15° greater than the normal high temperature for December. These warm temperatures peaked on December 7th when the thermometer reached 77°. However, only portions of the Panhandles witnessed the warm air on the 7th. Dense fog and low clouds hovered over the central to eastern Panhandles. This kept the high temperatures in the 30’s for the most of the Panhandles, while the southwest Texas Panhandle saw clear skies and warm southwest winds.
The cooler air did eventually move into the Panhandles bringing a few winter storms that produced freezing rain, sleet and snow. Portions of the Panhandles received this wintry mix of precipitation from December 9th through the 11th and again on the 15th. In fact, Amarillo officially received their first inch of snow on the 15th. Another strong winter storm impacted the area on the 22nd. Only 1.5 inches of snow fell that morning, but winds of up to 53 mph caused significant blowing and drifting snow. One last winter storm moved through the Panhandles from December 25th through 27th. Most locations received 1 to 3 inches of snow with a few areas across the Oklahoma and Northern Texas Panhandles measuring 4 to 5 inches of snow.