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Tulsa area rainfall more than normal for summer so far
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Tulsa area rainfall more than normal for summer so far

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Saturated ground unable to hold trees in strong winds, more mosquitoes, extra lawn mowing and treacherous driving conditions are some of the downsides of a so-far wetter-than-normal 1999.

On the upside, Tulsa hasn't had an Ozone Alert yet.

Although Tulsa has 9 inches of rain more than normal, experts say they are not worried.

You can't point a finger at La Nina, the Pacific Ocean weather pattern which has historically brought drier weather to Oklahoma, said Lans Rothfusz, the National Weather Service meteorologist in charge of the Tulsa office.

"It tells you that we don't have a good handle on even the long-term effects of La Nina," Rothfusz said. "There are going to be some La Nina years that are going to be wet."

With Wednesday's rainfall of 0.31 of an inch, the rain gauge stands at 28.61 inches for the year; the average is 19.72 inches.

However, those figures can be deceiving, Rothfusz said.

"You have to expect there's go ing to be variation to the weather," he said. "That's the nature of weather -- that there are wide variations. We just use normals to kind of give an indication of what the middle of the road is."

A review of rainfall figures dating from 1888 showed that in some years there was a lot of rain early in the year and in other years, it rained a lot late in the year.

In 1971, only 16.86 inches of rain had fallen by the end of June. But, by the end of the year, 56.41 inches of rain had fallen, including a monthly record of 18.81 inches of rain falling in September.

There were 69.88 inches of rain in 1973, the record for most rain noted in Tulsa. Just 23.24 inches of rain fell in 1956, the lowest amount ever recorded. The yearly average for Tulsa is 40.59 inches of rain, weather service figures show.

The forecast for Tulsa calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday with patchy fog in the morning. The high will be in the upper 80s with the chance of rain set at 40 percent.

Thursday night will be partly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low near 70. Chance of rain is 30 percent.

Friday, continued partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms and a high near 90. The chance of rain is 20 percent.

Rik Espinosa, World staff writer, can be reached at 581-8313 or via e-mail at rik.espinosa@tulsaworld.com .

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