2009 Weather Year in Review
Click HERE to view a graph of daily temperatures from 2009 (.pdf format)
2009 started off warm and dry. In fact, the average temperature from January through March was 45.1° which ranks as the 8th warmest all time for that three month period. Less than 1.5 inches of precipitation fell during this three month period and most of the moisture came during the historic blizzard in late March. These dry conditions made the Panhandles susceptible to wildfires. From January through April, over 40,000 acres of land burned but fortunately there were no major injuries or fatalities related to the fires.
From January through June, only April observed above normal precipitation. These drier conditions helped lead to a milder tornado season than normal. Certainly the Panhandles received its fair share of hail and wind in 2009, but only thirteen tornados occurred this year and ten of these tornados were short lived EF0’s. However, the skies finally opened up and the rain began to fall in July and August. In fact, 11.85 inches of rain fell in July and August in Amarillo which ranked second all time for that two month period (the record is 11.86 inches set back in 1950).
Along with the moisture increase during the late summer months came a cooling period. The average temperature during the August through October period was 65.5° which ranks as the 5th coolest all time during that three month period. So we had one of the warmest winters and early springs on record, and one of the coolest late summers and early falls on record during the same year. However, at the end of the year, our average temperature was only 0.4° above normal. Also, Amarillo ended up with two and a half inches more precipitation than normal, but other Panhandle locations such as Dalhart, Borger and Guymon received below normal precipitation during the year.
YEAR 2009 SUMMARY FOR AMARILLO
High for the year: 106°, July 9th
Low for the year: 4°, January 27th
Average High Temperature: 71.4° (1.1° above normal)
Average Low Temperature: 43.3° (0.3° below normal)
Average Annual Temperature: 57.4° (0.4° above normal)
Annual precipitation: 21.13 inches (2.5 inches above normal)
Annual snowfall: 18.4 inches (0.5 inches above normal)
Days with temperature ≥ 100 degrees: 5
Tornados: 13 total – 10 EF0’s, 2 EF1’s, and 1 EF2
Hi: 73°, 22nd
Low: 4°, 27th
Average: 38.5° (2.7° above normal)
Precipitation: 0.03 inches (0.60 inches below normal)
Snowfall: 0.7 inches
January continued a dry trend which began in November, 2008. A weak storm system brought the only measurable precipitation to Amarillo on the 26th and 27th. Less than an inch of snow fell during the month while average temperatures rose to nearly 3° above normal. Wildfires were the main story in January as nearly 15,000 acres of land burned across the Panhandles during the month.
Hi: 79°, 6th
Low: 15°, 2nd
Average: 45.6° (5.0° above normal)
Precipitation: 0.45 inches (0.10 inches below normal)
Snowfall: 0 inches
Records: Set daily record maximum temperature of 79° on the 6th and tied the daily record high minimum temperature of 48° on the 24th.
The warm air continued to fill into the Panhandles during February. In fact, the average monthly temperature of 45.6° tied for the 8th warmest February on record. The 0.45 inches of precipitation was somewhat deceptive as the entire rainfall occurred on the 8th and 9th of the month during late evening and early morning thunderstorms. The first severe weather of the year took place on the 8th when thunderstorms brought 60 to 70 mph wind gusts to a few Panhandle locations. The limited rainfall again promoted fire weather conditions as an additional 1,700 acres of land burned in February.
Hi: 85°, 4th
Low: 19°, 1st and 27th
Average: 51.2° (3.3° above normal)
Precipitation: 1.01 inches (0.12 inches below normal)
Snowfall: 12.6 inches
Records: Set daily record maximum temperature of 85° on the 4th.
Clearly, the main story in March was the historic blizzard which began on March 26th and finally ended early in the morning on the 28th. Most of the major highways, including Interstate 40, throughout the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles were shut down during the blizzard. In addition, Follett, Texas set an all time state of Texas 24 hour snowfall record when they received 25 inches of snow. Also, Slapout, Oklahoma, which is in the southeast portion of Beaver County, received 27 inches of during the event. Amarillo ended up with 11 inches of snow which ranked this event as the 5th largest snowfall during the month of March. Wind speeds during the blizzard rose to nearly 50 mph in a few locations causing wide spread white out conditions.
Aside from the blizzard, for the third straight month in 2009, and the fifth straight month dating back to November, 2008, the Panhandles received warmer and drier air than normal. The first hail of the year fell on March 20th when Beaver County in Oklahoma received nickel sized hail stones. In addition, the generally dry conditions helped the wildfires develop as over 6,000 acres of land were burned during the month.
Hi: 89°, 22nd
Low: 25°, 6th
Average: 56.0° (0.2° below normal)
Precipitation: 1.84 inches (0.51 inches above normal)
Tornados: 2 – an EF0 and EF1 on the 29th
The skies finally opened up in April as cooler air and above normal precipitation developed for the first time in 6 months. However, there was still time for wildfires as over 19,000 acres of land burned during April. The three most noticeable severe weather events took place on the 16th, 26th and 29th of the month. Golf ball to baseball sized hail fell during these events along with the first two tornados of the year which occurred on the 29th. And EF0 and EF1 tornado touched down in Carson County near the town of Panhandle.
In addition to the severe weather, a strong low pressure system developed on the 4th of the month which brought strong winds to the Panhandles. The highest measured wind gust of 74 mph occurred near Bushland, Texas although many locations received 60 to 70 mph winds.
Hi: 96°, 15th
Low: 38°, 4th
Average: 63.9° (1.3° below normal)
Precipitation: 0.43 inches (2.07 inches below normal)
Tornados: 5 – 3 EF0, 1 EF1, and 1 EF2 on the 15th.
Although the annual tornado totals were down from normal, May 15th brought the most and strongest tornados of the year. Severe storms developed during the afternoon hours and eventually began to produce tornados. An EF2 tornado developed on the northeast side of Pampa, Texas. This tornado caused significant damage to one home, and caused roof damage to a few other buildings. In addition, Pampa witnessed large baseball to softball sized hail which pelted homes near the golf course. In total, 5 tornados developed on May 15th but fortunately there were no significant injuries or fatalities.
The normal increase in severe weather activity in May did not translate to above normal precipitation though. Amarillo received less than a half an inch of rain which was over 2 inches below normal. Fortunately, the increase in relative humidity helped limit the potential for wildfires.
Hi: 99°, 17th
Low: 51°, 4th
Average: 75.5° (1.2° above normal)
Precipitation: 2.79 inches (0.49 below normal)
Tornados: 6 – 4 EF0’s on the 4th, 1 EF0 on the 5th, and 1 EF0 on the 15th.
June received the most tornados for an entire month although all six of the tornados were EF0’s. Four of these tornados developed on the 4th of June and were mostly confined to the western portion of the Texas Panhandle. The fifth tornado occurred on the 5th of the month near the town of White Deer, Texas. The final tornado of the month, and the year as it turned out, occurred on the 15th near Perryton, Texas. Fortunately, these tornados all caused minor damage and resulted in no fatalities or significant injuries.
The dry conditions persisted through June as Amarillo received nearly a half an inch below normal precipitation. However, these dry conditions did not prevent the large hail from falling. The largest observed hailstone of the year fell on the 15th of the month near Perryton, Texas when a four and a half inch hailstone formed in a strong supercell thunderstorm. Also, wind speeds ramped up to 90 mph in Randall County causing damage to a barn a few miles west of Canyon, Texas. These winds were associated with the strong supercell thunderstorm that spawned a tornado near Canyon as well.
Hi: 106°, 9th
Low: 55°, 28th
Average: 78.1° (0.1° below normal)
Precipitation: 3.78 inches (1.10 inches above normal)
Record: Set daily record maximum temperature of 102° on the 8th, tied the daily record maximum temperature of 106° on the 9th, and tied the daily record minimum temperature of 57° on the 23rd.
July brought an end to the dry spell and set the stage for a very wet three month period. Severe storms developed on the 16th, 17th, 18th and 28th of the month bringing large hail, damaging winds and abundant rainfall. July average temperatures were just slightly below normal, but the warmest day of the year occurred on the 9th of the month when temperatures hit 106° in Amarillo. In fact, Amarillo either set or tied record high temperatures on the 8th and 9th of the month.
There was a noticeable shift in the temperature trends from the first half of the month to the second. Average temperatures were in the upper 70s and 80s from the first through the 21st of the month, followed by average temperatures in the 60s and low 70s during the last ten days of the month. In addition, rainfall amounts increased during the second half of the month as Amarillo received over three inches of rain from the 15th through the 31st.
Hi: 98°, 5th
Low: 57°, 21st and 31st
Average: 76.0° (0.3° below normal)
Precipitation: 8.07 inches (5.13 inches above normal)
Records: Set the record for most precipitation in the month of August.
August was the wet month; the wettest August on record to be specific. Amarillo received at least a trace of rain on each day from the 9th through the 15th of the month, followed by two more days of rain on the 17th and 18th. That two week stretch brought the entire rainfall for the month of August. Clearly this was one of the wettest two week periods in Amarillo history for any time of the year. Fortunately though, the abundant rainfall did not translate to significant flooding and no flash flooding was reported in August.
Along with the heavy rain, cooler air settled into the Panhandles. August began a three month stretch of noticeably cooler temperatures. The abundant cloud cover from the rainfall helped keep the sunshine at bay and really limited the potential for heating during the month.
Hi: 94°, 27th and 30th
Low: 39°, 23rd
Average: 67.1° (2.0° below normal)
Precipitation: 0.83 inches (1.05 inches below normal)
The wet conditions in Amarillo dissipated in September, but other Panhandle locations did experience heavy rain. In fact, the heavy rain caused flooding in Hutchinson County near the town of Borger, Texas on the 2nd of the month leading local officials to close State Highway 136. The cooling trend continued through September as the average temperatures were a full two degrees below normal. Interestingly though, there was a brief heat wave at the end of the month. The 94° high temperature on the 27th and 31st was only four degrees below the record on the 27th, and only one degree below the record on the 31st.
Hi: 90°, 19th
Low: 23°, 30th
Average: 53.4° (4.8° below normal)
Precipitation: 1.42 inches (0.08 inches below normal)
Records: Tied daily record maximum temperature of 90° on the 19th. Set the daily record low maximum temperature of 44° on both the 10th and 11th. Set a daily record minimum temperature of 27° on both the 10th and 11th.
October was cool and dry. Even though Amarillo set a record high temperature of 90° on the 19th, the average temperature for the month was nearly five degrees below normal. This October ranked as the 6th coldest on record. A particularly cold October airmass settled in on the 10th and 11th bringing record low max and min temperatures. Foggy and dreary conditions persisted during this two day stretch limiting the sunshine and keeping cool temperatures in place. Otherwise, October was a relatively quite month with no other significant weather to speak of.
Hi: 84°, 6th
Low: 23°, 25th and 30th
Average: 50.4° (5.2° above normal)
Precipitation: 0.26 inches (0.42 inches below normal)
Snowfall: 2.1 inches.
Records: Set daily record high temperature of 84° on the 6th. Set daily record high minimum temperature of 54° on the 13th.
The first inch of snowfall (2.1inches total) for the winter season fell in Amarillo on November 29th. This was the only measurable precipitation for Amarillo in November. Also, November was very warm as average temperatures were over five degrees above normal. The average temperature of 50.4° tied November for the 14th warmest on record. Otherwise, November was another quiet month for weather.
December (This information is current through December 31st and MAY need to be updated if high or low temperatures change from the current observations as of 3 PM CST).
Hi: 64°, 13th
Low: 5°, 9th
Average: 32.6° (4.4° below normal)
Precipitation: 0.32 inches (0.29 inches below normal).
Snowfall: 3.0 inches.
Average temperatures swings from October through December acted like a rollercoaster. A very cold October transitioned to a warm November, followed by another cold December. The average temperature for December was nearly five degrees below normal and ranked as the 13th coldest on record.
The biggest story in December was the winter storms during the last two weeks of the month. The first storm impacted the Panhandles on Christmas Eve combining snowfall with very strong winds. Blizzard conditions were observed in the southeast Texas Panhandle, with blowing snow and low wind chill values occurring across the rest of the Panhandles. A second winter storm impacted the Panhandles on the 29th of the month. Most of the snowfall developed over the southern Texas Panhandle but fortunately the winds were not strong enough to bring blizzard conditions to the area. Finally, another round of light snow hit the Panhandles on New Years Eve. Most Panhandle locations received one to two inches of snow, with a few three inch reports to round out the day.