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Steam Bath of a Week Ahead

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It's a big weekend with lots of festivities from the Porter Peach Festival to the 1st Annual Center of the Universe Music Festival in downtown Tulsa. We Oklahomans come to expect nothing but hot weather in July, but that does little to minimize the risk of heat-related issues when out and about. As I write this on Saturday afternoon, many areas have heat index values over 100°. Our actual air temperatures are leveling out in the 90s thanks to all of the moisture in the air. That moisture, however, is what makes it feel like a steam bath out there!

The steam bath isn't all that bad when you consider it contributes to scattered afternoon showers and storms that act to cool off the immediate vicinity. The week ahead features daily rain chances, albeit limited, thanks to weak storm systems in the region along with that moisture and heat to fuel the thunderstorms. Even after a week of abundant rainfall across portions of Oklahoma (reason #1 it feels so sticky out there), much of Green Country missed out on a lot of it so we can use all the rain we can get!

Here's the latest Drought Monitor in the attached image. It hardly seems fair that it could be so muggy as a drought builds back over a chunk of the region. It's just a moderate drought, but it's the time of the year where the heat and sunshine scour the ground of moisture in rather short order. Fortunately, these weak storm systems in the area may give most places at least one soaking of rainfall in the week ahead – that'll help to at least postpone the worsening of the drought.

To break it down, we are caught between a frontal boundary to our north in Kansas and a weak wave of upper-level energy in the Deep South that is sparking scattered storms. We are close enough to both features to warrant preparing for a downpour for the remainder of the weekend. Don't expect a widespread or long-term rain event, but if you've got plans to be out for the rest of the weekend, pack an umbrella or poncho just in case.

The same goes for the week ahead. We will be at the southern fringe of northwesterly flow in the jet stream. This time of year, that means storms can form upstream (to our north and west) and migrate into the muggy air mass which sustains them as they push into Oklahoma. The potential for one or more of these complexes of storms appears possible midweek. Severe weather isn't likely, but high winds and some hail can't be ruled out either. When it's not rain, temperatures will be soaring into the upper 90s for highs with heat index values, like today, over 100°.

Rain is great! Heat… not so much. The combination of both gives us that steam bath week ahead. Stay cool and enjoy the rest of the weekend! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook!

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