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Blazing Heat and a Drought to Beat

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Oppressive heat is about to give way to another cool-down associated with a fairly active weather pattern for Oklahoma. It's very encouraging to see that days like today (Tuesday) are not becoming the "norm" as it was the last two summers. As one Facebook'er put it on my page, it's so hot that I saw a chicken lay an omelet! Take a look at the maximum heat index values in the first attached map for Tuesday afternoon!

Northwesterly flow in the jet stream is a common culprit for summer storms here in our region. It's a frustrating pattern for meteorologists because it's very finicky and hard to nail down the timing and intensity of various storm events. In any case, the likelihood of rain is climbing for the week ahead and that will act to bring those temperatures down to a tolerable range.

The first round of storms is coming tonight. A weak wave of energy in the jet stream is all it takes to spark a large complex of severe storms. When we are dealing with both extreme amounts of heat and moisture in the air at the surface, it only takes an atmospheric nudge (as in this case) to release a significant amount of fuel for storms. In this kind of environment, storms will be explosive and capable of damaging winds (in excess of 70 mph). Large hail is also possible. The time window for our region is after dark and into the early morning hours of Wednesday. The other threat to go along with this possible storm complex will be flooding rains. Places north of Tulsa have already seen up to and over 6" of rain in the past week and any extra water will be turned into run-off. Run-off leads to flash flooding. It would be wise to keep eye out for and avoid any ponding or flowing water over roadways tonight and tomorrow morning.

The same can be said for any storm in the weak to come. In this moisture-laden environment, we can get TORRENTIAL downpours. Widely scattered showers and storms are possible through Thursday. Added clouds and easterly surface winds will draw in cooler temperatures. By cooler, I mean, near normal with highs in the mid-90s.

By the time Friday rolls around, another wave of energy will be rolling over to give us another round of heavy rain and storms. This could be a longer event, which will add to our flooding concerns. The attached map shows predicted rainfall totals between now and Saturday night. Widespread 3 to 5 inch amounts of rain appear likely. This moderate drought that has crept back into Oklahoma will be high-tailing its way out of here by then as we deal with the opposite issue of too much water in places. This time of year though, aside from gully-washers that cause flash flooding, rain is a welcome sight.

If we regress back into another dry spell, we'll have some cushion time before we see crackly ground where ponds usually sit. For now, it looks like we'll be in pretty good shape as far as rain goes. We'll just have to deal with some intense heat and rowdy storms in the process.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @GroganontheGO, and like my page on Facebook for all the updates!

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