There's a certain something in the air these days: warmth, tree pollen, and the occasional smell of smoke thanks to the prevailing dry, windy conditions. It seems to have arrived at least a month early, but there's no doubt about it – spring-like weather is here. Wednesday's high of 75 has given me a serious case of Spring Fever. The greater sun angle and longer days are helping add to that feel as well. We are back into a relatively mild regime without any sort of Arctic air mass waiting in the wings to plunge our way.
I still don't think 70-degree readings will be commonplace for at least a month. Another cold front is pushing through the area today. There's no moisture to work with so the only indication of its passage are the uptick in winds. This is creating a problem though. Already dry vegetation, low relative humidity values, and wind gusts over 30 mph give us a very high fire danger for the afternoon hours. In fact, a Red Flag Warning has been issued for the National Weather Service, which essentially means it would be foolish to set outdoor fires since they could easily spread out of control in these conditions.
In the wake of this cold front comes cooler, quiet weather. Friday will be mostly sunny with seasonable temperatures. Another warm-up begins this weekend with increasing southerly winds ahead of our next storm system. The computer models are all over the map with its placement and amount of moisture it brings, but all indications are that the precipitation would be strictly liquid. It's still way too early to rule out the possibility of a winter storm for the season. Just keep that in mind!
One thing we are concerned about is the lack of cold air this winter with regards to the insect population. I will be working on a story, which will air Friday evening about what the warm seasons ahead may hold if we don't see anymore dramatic cool-downs. Allergy-sufferers (like me) would also like a decent cold spell to at least stunt the rise of pollen in the air.
The country as a whole has been very mild this season. It seems the really cold air this winter has swung south on the other side of the North Pole into portions of Europe and Asia. The result of that is seen in the nationwide snow coverage map above. Less than 23% of the country has snow on the ground. Last year on this date, 43% of the nation was snow-covered.
As we continue to inch out of the winter that wasn't, we'll work our way into the time of year Oklahoma is known for – severe weather season. Both winter and severe weather can occur this time of year, making it one of the most exciting times for forecasters. However, the winter weather threat begins to greatly reduce by mid-March, which is just around the corner. No matter what, we'll be hoping for moisture so we can head into the growing season in better shape.
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