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Cold Tonight, Rain Likely Friday.

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Lots of records set this morning as well as over the last 24 hours. Notice the morning low temperature map across the state on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. Most of those numbers are records for this particular date. Just below that is the number of hours below freezing over the last 48 hours, also courtesy of the OK Mesonet. Some locations in the Panhandle did not get above freezing all day yesterday! Needless to say, that is just crazy for this time of year. Unfortunately, those locations that had the coldest temperatures and were below freezing the longest are also still dealing with extreme to exceptional drought. This all adds up to serious problems for agriculture in those areas, particularly in regards to the wheat crop.

After the record setting cold start to our day, at least we will not be setting any records for cool daytime highs, although it will be much cooler than normal. Bright sunny skies and light northerly winds will allow temperatures to reach well into the 50s to near 60 this afternoon. Keep in mind though that our normal daytime high is in the mid 70s at this time of year.

Tonight will also be clear and cold with morning lows back into the upper 30s and possibly some patchy frost in the normally colder valley locations. The clear, cold start will then be followed by increasing cloud cover during the day which should limit our daytime highs to the upper 60s.

A disturbance aloft will be moving across the state Friday keeping us overcast all day and also bringing another round of rain with possibly some embedded thunder. Although the time of year would suggest a severe weather risk with this scenario, the actual weather conditions are not favorable the way things stand right now. The widespread nature of the precipitation, overcast skies, and relatively cool temperatures will combine to pretty well eliminate any surface based instability. There may some instability aloft that could result in some rumbles of thunder, but by and large this looks to be just a rain event. Also, the absence of any boundaries to focus better vertical development will limit the potential for storms. As you can see from the QPF map on the right, valid through Saturday morning, there will be a rather sharp W-E gradient in the expected rainfall. Unfortunately, our more western neighbors will once again miss out on most of the rainfall.

After that, look for temperatures to finally warm into more Spring-like conditions through the weekend and into the early part of the following week. Another cold front should be arriving along about the middle of next week to cool us off, but it is not expected to be nearly as extreme as this last event.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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