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Warmer Today, Rain Likely by Mid-Week.

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A nice warm-up is in store for us today after getting off to another chilly start. Look for lots of sunshine and afternoon temperatures to be reaching the 60s. Only problem will be a south wind which will become rather gusty with wind speeds of 15-25 or more expected this afternoon. Together with the dry air in place, the warm temperatures, the drought conditions, and the dormant vegetation, this all adds up to an enhanced fire danger situation. Relative humidity levels will be dropping to 30% or less this afternoon.

A cool front will be arriving during the day Monday but the gusty southerly winds ahead of the boundary will keep temperatures much milder tonight. Overnight lows will only be dropping into the upper 40s so Monday will get off to a very mild start. Gusty SW winds ahead of the front Monday will be shifting to the NW following frontal passage and morning clouds will be giving way to plenty of afternoon sunshine. That should result in daytime highs still near 60 as the cooler will not be arriving till that night. Also, there is a chance of some showers and possibly some thunder, but that is mainly for the more eastern counties and on into Arkansas.

Tuesday will then be sunny and cooler, but Wednesday and Thursday will be more interesting. Wednesday morning will start off near freezing, but clouds will be on the increase during the day as a stronger storm system will be approaching. Look for showers to be developing by that afternoon, rain will be widespread that night and into the morning hours of Thursday. The real question mark for Wednesday is temperatures as if the rain starts more quickly than expected, then the evaporative cooling may keep the more northern counties in the 30s to near 40 for much of the day. Right now, don't think it will be that cold, but something to be aware of.

The heaviest rains should occur Wednesday night into Thursday morning and as the QPF map on the right shows, we stand to get a decent soaking across the state. This will put another dent into the ongoing drought situation, but will not be a drought breaker. Temperatures on Thursday will be above freezing so it will be a liquid event and as the winds shift to a more W direction behind the front during the day Thursday look for clearing skies and temperatures to rebound into the 50s.

Cooler air will then filter in to start the day Friday, but this will not be a brutally cold system. In fact, temperatures will only be slightly below normal through the weekend. Another frontal boundary may arrive during the day Sunday but it looks to be a dry system at this time with any chance of rain holding off till Sunday night or Monday.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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