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High Fire Danger.

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The first map on the right shows the total accumulated precipitation over the last 24 hours across the state, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. Pretty disappointing, but also pretty much in line with what was forecast. At least we all received some moisture, although it certainly did not even put a dent in the ongoing drought situation. Unfortunately, what little moisture there is on the ground will quickly disappear with the sunny skies and gusty SW winds that will be in place all day today.

In fact, notice the second map on the right, also courtesy of the OK Mesonet. That shows the lows so far this morning. What is notable about those numbers is that they are actually pretty close to what our normal daytime highs would be for this time of year which should tell you something about where we are headed today. The combination of sunny skies, gusty SW winds, and the very mild start to our day should result in afternoon temperatures about 20 degrees above normal or in the mid-upper 60s. That is not record territory but it is extremely mild for the middle of December.

The combination of very warm temperatures, lack of moisture in the ground, dormant vegetation, gusty SW winds, and low humidity levels this afternoon all add up to another fire danger situation. Fortunately, the winds will not be as strong for Sunday and Monday, but temperatures will still be much above normal and the ground still dry, so be careful with the outdoor activities.

Along about Tue-Wed, a return to gusty southerly winds is expected which will result in an enhanced fire danger again. Temperatures will also be much above normal; in fact we could approach 70 on Wednesday with strong southerly winds in place. The wild card there is cloud cover which may keep a bit of a lid on daytime high temperatures.

The next cold front to affect the state is on schedule to arrive Wednesday night followed by a return to more seasonal temperatures, gusty northerly winds, but not much in the way of moisture. There is a very slight chance of showers with the front and perhaps for a short time behind it into Thursday morning, but by and large it looks like a dry forecast into the coming weekend.

Winter officially arrives according to the calendar on Friday and it looks like the weather will respond with seasonal temperatures. Temperatures should then be moderating into that following weekend, but not as warm as we will be this weekend.

Looking ahead into the Christmas Holiday period, the longer range guidance has not been very consistent. It does appear that we will have another cool-down by then but the extent of the cooling is very much in question. Also, the general consensus would support at least a chance of showers during that time frame, but again, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the timing and amounts.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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