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Stormy Today & Tonight, Much Cooler Thursday.

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What a difference a day can make. Notice the map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which shows the 24 hour temperature change from this time yesterday. Obviously, very warm and humid air has surged back to the NW and temperatures are running nearly 30 degrees warmer than at this time yesterday. By this time tomorrow, temperatures will have changed another 30 degrees, only on the cold side as a strong cold front will be arriving later tonight and during the morning hours of Thursday.

That frontal boundary together with the warm, humid air now in place and a strong disturbance aloft that will be ejecting out of the southern Rockies all add up to a volatile situation with regards to the potential for severe storms. In fact, as I write this a tornado watch has already been issued valid through 11 PM tonight.

Regarding the storm chances, count on a line of storms to occur along and ahead of the cold front which should be reaching this side of the state later tonight. The big question mark is if something can develop ahead of the cold front during the afternoon and evening hours. Atmospheric conditions suggest a capping inversion aloft is weakening this afternoon and if there should be enough of a break in the clouds to allow for some additional heating, then some isolated storms could form well ahead of the main cold front. If that occurs, then those storms would be the most likely to produce significant severe weather, including a risk of tornadoes. Also, the line of storms as it moves eastward overnight will potentially have some spin-ups embedded within the stronger cells which would also pose a tornado threat. Bottom line is that it is very advisable to keep a close eye on the sky through tonight and be very weather aware as conditions could change rather rapidly.

This will be followed by another significant cool-down on Thursday with temperatures likely falling back into the 40s during the morning hours. The rain will also be ending during the morning and we should see at least some afternoon sunshine, although NW winds of 15-30 mph will keep temperatures from warming much. Even so, the sun at this time of year should produce at least somewhat of a rebound with afternoon temperatures back to near 50, which again is about 30 degrees below where we are this afternoon.

Friday morning should be clear and cold and if the winds calm down enough, could see frost or even a light freeze so gardeners should be very much prepared for that possibility. After that, a return to southerly winds over the weekend will warm things back up followed by a slight chance of showers on Sunday and better chances for early next week. Preliminary indications suggest another strong system arriving during the Monday night/Tuesday time frame followed by another significant cool-down and possibly some 30s by Wed morning. This is certainly turning to be an interesting April and it is not over yet.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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