After a 90º start to the month of April, temperatures have generally leveled off. Most days up until now have featured highs in the 60s and 70s with very few 80º+ readings. As the sun angle grows and the daylight time lengthens each day, it is inevitable that we heat up again at some point. We are seeing that in a big way today as a dome of heat expands from the southwest into Oklahoma. The record high for Wednesday is 89º and we could hit or even surpass that. Portions of western Oklahoma may hit the century mark! Even Tuesday (as shown above) was a hot day in western Oklahoma. Some places warmed over 50º from morning to afternoon!
The heat is building in thanks to surface winds from the southwest, transporting the warmth off the desert plateau in northern Mexico. The southwest winds are in response to a developing storm system to our west. Due to the heat building at higher levels in the atmosphere as well, thunderstorms may be suppressed until the cold front is passing through the region. This is what we call a "cap" where warm air aloft prevents warm air at the surface to rise past a certain layer. If we have cool air aloft, warm, less dense air at the surface can rise freely. That rising motion causes thunderstorms.
Moving past our science lesson, it appears most of the energy from the storm system will pass to our north, only giving us a slight chance of thunderstorms each day into the weekend. Still, if any storms do form ahead of the cold front expected to push through our area Saturday, they could go "gangbusters" and be quite severe. With that said, we are only forecasting slight chances of rain/storms with this frontal boundary then stalling just south of us and meandering in our area into early next week.
As for our heat, it will likely stick around through Friday. Behind (or along) the cold front this weekend, we are expecting more seasonable temperatures (70s) with mostly cloudy skies and a few showers and storms. Gradual warming is expected next week as the front lifts back to the north and southerly winds return.
No significant severe weather outbreak is expected in the foreseeable future. However, just about any storm this time of year can grow to severe strength this time of year with the moisture, heat, and upper-level energy often present. We've certainly lucked out for the first half of this week with gorgeous weather so our time for unsettled weather is becoming overdue!
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