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Building Heat Before Relief

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It's not even July yet and unfortunately we're already talking about potential triple-digit heat. On this day last year, Tulsa hit 105° and no one really wants a repeat of last summer. An early season ridge in the jet stream will be building to our west, encompassing the region before a deepening trough over the Great Lakes wins out and provides us with sustained relief from the heat wave.

With only subtle variations, each day has been nearly a carbon copy of the other in regards to our weather pattern. Each day, temperatures have only fallen in the mid to upper 70s and risen into the low-mid 90s with gusty south winds. We're far away from the direct influence of the jet stream to provide us with any substantial relief from the building heat. This heat and wind is also acting to dry us out. A few more days of it and we'll start to lose a lot of our evapotranspiration from our rather lush green vegetation. My first map shows the "vegetation health" for the region. Green Country is still green, but we're starting to dry out! That's a corner we don't want to turn just yet because that is about the only thing holding us back from triple-digit temperatures already. Far western Oklahoma could speak to that!

As I mentioned, the ridge in the jet stream is building over the western half of the country, promoting a major heat wave. We get to experience that for the next few days as our temperatures make a climb from our current heat plateau. By Thursday afternoon, ahead of a slow-moving cold front, temperatures will soar to near the century-mark. Heat index values could push 105°. Of course that's nothing new here, but the hottest we'll have seen all season, so don't let your guard down!

Friday is when the bigger changes begin to happen. First, an initial cold front will push through Green Country. It still may be a very hot day with this transition, but clouds and a slight chance of a few storms should take the edge off the heat. By the weekend, a reinforcing shot of cooler air arrives with an uptick in northeasterly winds. This is all thanks to that deepening trough, which will push the heat further west and allow for some refreshment. In fact, the beginning of July could be nearly as cool as the first week of June, especially if we get daily bouts of showers and storms. Attached is the Outlook for the week of Independence Day. We're not alone in this retreat to late-spring readings!

There's still uncertainty in the duration of the cool-down, but it's fair to say that any day without hitting 90° or higher is appreciated this time of year. With the cool-down comes a returned chance of rain and storms. This pattern supports nearly daily chances of rain although nothing overly severe. Don't be surprised if you see a chance of rain pop up on the 4th of July.

Stay cool and don't forget that even 90° readings can be dangerous if you're not taking consistent heat precautions outside. I'm looking forward to the promising changes just around the corner! Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and like my Facebook page!

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