How common is severe weather in the winter for Oklahoma?

Severe weather is least common during the winter months of December, January and February in Oklahoma, but on occasion, thunderstorms can still pack a punch this time of year.

The cold season is characterized by high wind shear thanks to a strong jet stream overhead and lower instability and moisture levels.

This means that the dynamics for severe weather are common, but the fuel for the storms is usually lacking this far north.

When instability is present, high winds hail and tornadoes can all occur in the winter.

On average, 1 to 2 tornadoes happen between December and February in Oklahoma. January is the least likely month for tornadoes with December having the second lowest tornado count.

High wind gusts are the most common severe weather occurrence in the winter because of the strong winds through the atmosphere.

In the past five years, 33 wind gusts over 58 mph have been reported statewide. Hail can also occur. Since 2017, more than 20 reports of hail at least one inch in diameter have also been logged in the cold season.

As always, it is wise to be prepared for severe weather any time of year since the ingredients for dangerous weather can come together even in the winter.