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Records Go Down & Drought Goes Away

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What a week in Oklahoma weather! Since last Thursday, we've seen tornadoes, flooding, both warm and (very) cold temperatures, ice, and even a few snowflakes. The very late appearance of winter is possibly the most remarkable for this late in the spring season. The first attached picture actually shows power lines taken down by over half an inch of ice in far northwestern Oklahoma! On this side of the state, record lows were seen for two mornings in a row. Tulsa even had its second latest freeze on record, to the woe of many anxious gardeners. This morning, Tulsa broke a record low that has stood for over a century and McAlester had their latest freeze on record in addition to a record low!

Cold air can only last so long this time of year. It is already retreating to the northeast as mild air surges back into our region thanks to sunny skies and a south wind. You wouldn't know it by the last couple days, but our average high temperature this time of year is in the mid-70s. We'll be closer to normal by this weekend and approaching 80 early next week!

Abundant rain from last week's severe weather episode has left much of Green Country ENTIRELY out of the drought! (Cue the Hallelujah chorus) The latest Monitor Index shown above still has parts of Tulsa in a moderate drought and severe to extreme drought northwest into Osage, Pawnee, and Washington counties. Tulsa still has about a 1" rainfall deficit from January 1st to now, but another good storm or two will bring us back to normal. Big-time drought improvement has also happened around Oklahoma City… now just in the "Abnormally Dry" category, which can also be seen as a transition out of drought. We're entering our wettest time of the year so this improvement is not a surprise, but absolutely necessary before the dry and hot weather take hold for the summer.

This lull in the active weather is giving way to another day of rain and storms in the area. Another half-inch to inch of rain may fall across Green Country as a disturbance pulls out of the Desert Southwest Friday. A few marginally severe storms are possible in southeast Oklahoma with the risk of hail, but it will be largely just scattered showers with occasional thunder for most of us.

The next storm system will arrive by mid-week next week and has more potential for severe weather. It also brings the potential for another cold spell by the end of next week. Another freeze would be extremely unlikely from a climatological stand-point, but it appears to be an especially potent system so we can't rule out one final fling with winter-like weather. Sheesh.

Enjoy the return of "normal" spring weather for region in the meantime! Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and like me on Facebook!

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