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Where did Spring Go?

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We've endured yet another big flip-flop with our weather as we flopped to non-flip-flop weather. Even by Oklahoma standards, these dramatic changes between warm, cold, wet and dry haven't been easy to weather. Once we reach April, we rarely revisit wintry weather. As elusive as Old Man Winter has been over the past two years, he seems to want to pay us a few late visits before he retreats for the warm seasons. The first attached map shows his footprint across the Plains.

Several days of mild, moist, rather typical spring weather in Tulsa gave way to the harsh cool-down this week, bringing temperatures 20° to 30° below normal. An Arctic air mass spilled down behind a strong spring storm system right into Oklahoma with less modification than usual. That is why western and central Oklahoma dealt with ice and even some snow. In the wake of that system, cool air coming off of a snowpack in the High Plains continues to stream into Oklahoma, thus, delaying a warm-up.

The warm-up will come steadily. Sunny days to come will help bring back the spring-like readings, but it'll be the return of the south wind this weekend that will finally give our temperatures the boost to normal and even above-normal levels. We'll go from highs in the 40s Wednesday to highs in the lower 80s by early next week! "Spring" got swept away by the Arctic cold front, but it doesn't disappear for long by this point in the year as a high sun angle and building warmth in the sub-tropics make a stronger push northward. These wild swings in temperatures are simply the result of strong storm systems brought by an active jet stream pattern this time of year.

That active jet stream gave us another great soaking rain. The latest Drought Monitor only takes into account rainfall before 7am Tuesday, but still shows further drought relief for us. In fact, the "Abnormally Dry" category is really a transition out of drought. As you can see in the attached map, the drought has now officially lost its grip on 15% of Oklahoma. This is GREAT news for Green Country, especially with even more recent rains to be considered in next week's drought check. More rain, especially north and west of Tulsa wouldn't hurt though.

Rain will return next week and possibly this weekend. An active pattern will set up once again and give us several days of rain chances with a frontal boundary nearby. If we can keep up this trend of a couple rainy days each week through spring, our drought will be history.

Our drought may be going by the wayside, but the cold air isn't in the long-term. Another shot of cold air is coming next week and will, once again, stunt our seasonal warming trend. The second map shows the temperature trend out to 2 weeks from now. If you're thinking about planting your garden, I would hold off on the plants vulnerable to freezing temperatures at least another week or two. This jet stream pattern is still far enough south and oriented to give us more "winter" in spring. With the swings in these temperatures, we have to be on guard for severe weather. These big transitions in temperatures don't often come without consequences this time of year.

You can keep those flip-flops on stand-by, but don't stow away the winter coat just yet! Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and like me on Facebook!

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