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Long Range Outlook

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With the change to Daylight Saving Time comes an extra hour of sunlight, the loss of having access to the complete 00Z model data before a 10 PM newscast (meteorological gripe!) and a May-like week ahead for Oklahoma.

What caught my eye weren't the forecast highs in the 80s for Tuesday and Wednesday, or even the prolonged chance of storms Thursday through Sunday, but the lack of any frontal system or air mass change over the seven-day period. Examining the day-to-day minimum/maximum temperature fluctuations for the month of February and March to date has shown a high level of variance. This corresponds to the warming and cooling that takes place ahead of and behind weather systems. With no significant weather systems or fronts forecast to affect the state in the week ahead, surface moisture will be allowed to build and mass unimpeded across the Central Plains. Within this richer moisture environment, isolated showers and thunderstorms will be possible. The risk of severe thunderstorms at any given time Thursday through Sunday will be low due to the lack of strong upper-air forcing. A dryline will be established across the High Plains on the western fringe of the richer surface moisture, which could lead to isolated, severe thunderstorm development.

The scenario changes eight days out; Monday through Wednesday, March 19th, 20th and 21st . A large trough of low pressure carving its way across the Rocky Mountains will begin to interact with the moisture-rich air across Oklahoma. This leads this forecaster to have a higher level of confidence of thunderstorms during this time period.  Much depends on the strength and timing of the upper-level system, but this could prove to be a favorable setup for severe weather. Experience does urge caution, as March is notorious for quick changes and surprises especially when forecasting 7-10 days out.

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