Tulsa, Oklahoma, experiences a humid subtropical climate, specifically the hot-summer subtype (Köppen climate classification Cfa), characterized by four distinct seasons with hot and humid summers, mild to cool winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The city is known for its diverse culture, rich history, and vibrant arts scene. In this comprehensive overview, we will explore various aspects of Tulsa’s climate, including temperature, precipitation, seasonal changes, and how this climate impacts the local environment and daily life.
According to Citiesplustowns, Tulsa is located in the northeastern part of Oklahoma and serves as the state’s second-largest city. The city’s climate is influenced by its central location within the United States, far from major bodies of water, which results in significant temperature variations between seasons.
Summer (June – August): Summers in Tulsa are hot and humid, making it one of the defining features of the city’s climate. Daytime highs typically range from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (around 29-35°C). Occasional heatwaves can bring temperatures above 100°F (around 37°C). Nights remain warm, with temperatures in the 60s to low 70s°F (around 15-24°C). The high humidity levels can make the heat feel even more oppressive. Summer is a popular time for outdoor activities, with many residents and visitors enjoying the city’s parks, water-based activities on the Arkansas River, and various cultural events.
Fall (September – November): Fall in Tulsa is a season of transition, with gradually cooling temperatures. September offers daytime highs in the upper 80s to low 90s°F (around 31-35°C) before temperatures begin to moderate. By November, daytime highs range from the mid-50s to low 60s°F (around 13-17°C). Nights are cooler, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s°F (around 4-15°C). Fall foliage is a highlight, with trees displaying vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. The season is perfect for outdoor activities, including hiking and attending local fall festivals.
Winter (December – February): Winters in Tulsa are relatively mild compared to many other parts of the United States. Daytime highs typically range from the upper 40s to low 50s°F (around 8-12°C). Nights are chilly, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s°F (around -6 to 4°C). While snowfall does occur, it is relatively limited, with monthly averages ranging from less than an inch to a few inches (1-5 cm). Winter weather is generally mild, with occasional freezing rain. The season is marked by overcast skies and cooler temperatures, but it rarely disrupts daily life.
Spring (March – May): Spring in Tulsa is marked by gradually warming temperatures. March begins with daytime highs in the 50s to 60s°F (around 10-20°C), and by May, daytime highs reach the mid-70s to low 80s°F (around 24-28°C). Nights are cool but gradually become milder. Spring can bring occasional rain showers as the weather transitions into warmer conditions. It’s an ideal season for outdoor activities, gardening, and enjoying the city’s parks and green spaces as the landscape awakens.
Tulsa’s climate is characterized by moderate precipitation levels, with some variation between seasons.
Summer: The summer months of June, July, and August are relatively wet, with average monthly precipitation ranging from 3 to 4 inches (76-102 mm). Thunderstorms are common during this season and can bring sporadic heavy rainfall.
Fall: Fall sees a reduction in precipitation compared to summer. September and October typically receive around 2 to 3 inches of rainfall each month, with drier conditions in November.
Winter: Winter in Tulsa remains relatively wet, with monthly precipitation averages typically around 2 to 3 inches (51-76 mm). Rainfall is more common than snowfall, and winter weather is generally mild compared to many other parts of the country.
Spring: Spring months, particularly April and May, experience an increase in precipitation. Monthly averages range from 3 to 4 inches (76-102 mm), with rain showers becoming more common. Spring rainfall is crucial for replenishing groundwater and sustaining local vegetation.
Tulsa’s climate significantly influences various aspects of life, from outdoor activities to local culture and events.
Summer Recreation:* Summers provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy outdoor activities, such as picnics, hiking, water sports, and attending various cultural events. The Arkansas River and the city’s many parks, like Woodward Park and LaFortune Park, are popular destinations for relaxation and outdoor entertainment.
Fall Foliage:* Fall is a prime time for leaf-peeping and enjoying the vibrant autumn colors in local parks and natural areas. Tulsa and the surrounding region host various autumn festivals and cultural events to celebrate the season.
Winter Comfort:* Winters in Tulsa are milder than in many other parts of the United States, making it a relatively comfortable season for daily life. While snowfall is possible, it is typically not significant, and the city is well-prepared to manage winter weather.
Spring Blooms:* Spring in Tulsa marks the blossoming of trees and flowers, adding color and vibrancy to the city. It’s a time for gardening, outdoor events, and festivals celebrating the season.
Climate Impact on Daily Life:
Tulsa’s climate significantly influences daily life, affecting activities, clothing choices, and local industries.
Year-Round Outdoor Activities:* The relatively mild climate allows for year-round outdoor activities, making parks and recreational areas popular destinations.
Seasonal Wardrobe:* Wardrobes change with the seasons, with summers calling for light, breathable clothing and winters requiring warm layers for cooler temperatures.
Outdoor Festivals and Events:* Tulsa’s cultural scene is influenced by its climate, with various events and festivals celebrating the seasons, including summer music festivals, fall arts fairs, and spring garden shows.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, experiences a humid subtropical climate with distinct seasons, providing a range of outdoor and cultural experiences for residents and visitors. The city’s natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and seasonal changes make it an attractive destination for those seeking both outdoor adventure and cultural enjoyment. While the climate presents some seasonal variations, it enhances the city’s charm and provides opportunities for seasonal activities and celebrations.