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So You Think It Has Been Dry Lately?

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So you think it has been dry lately. Take a look at the map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. It shows the departure from normal precipitation since the drought began in Oct, 2010. Notice that there is a large section of the state that is more than 20" below our normal precipitation during that time frame and some sections that are more than 28" below normal. Now that is much too dry and according to the good folks at the OK Mesonet, it is the second driest such period on record, second only to the drought in the 1950s.

What we desperately need is a good, widespread, soaking rain and that does not appear to be in the cards anytime soon. In fact, after a good cool-down for this first weekend of the fall season, look for temperatures to be soaring for much of the coming week along with at best only isolated chances of showers/storms.

A surge of cooler, drier air will be arriving during the day today with increasing N to NE winds of 10-20 mph by this afternoon. That will keep our daytime highs around 80 for the more northern counties, but since the cooler air will not be arriving till later in the day for folks south of I-40, temperatures for the more southern counties should be near 90 again.

Clouds will be the wild card for temperatures tonight as a few showers/storms may form in the extreme W counties due to a more easterly, or upslope flow developing during the overnight hours. The chances of a shower is only about 10%, but there may be enough cloud cover to keep temperatures from bottoming out and will call for overnight lows in the lower 50s.

Sunday will see a light E wind first thing in the morning with the winds returning to a more SE direction by afternoon and increasing to 10-18 mph. Daytime highs should reach the upper 70s to near 80 so a bit below normal but the increasing winds will create a fire danger concern by afternoon as well.

The below normal temperatures will not last long though as above normal temperatures are expected for the rest of the coming week. In addition, gusty southerly winds will create an enhanced fire danger situation for much of the coming week as well. Look for daytime highs to be back into the 90s starting Monday and for at least several more days after that. Our overnight lows will also be warming back into the 60s to near 70 as the week wears on.

Our chances for some relief in the form of a few showers/storms will be non-zero, but not by much. The longer range guidance does offer some hope of at least a few showers/storms on any given day starting late Wednesday and continuing into the coming weekend. But, present indications suggest these will be widely scattered at best and only provide some brief, localized relief from the ongoing drought situation.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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