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Hard Freeze, Lunar Eclipse, and Other Stuff.

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The last couple of days have been interesting to say the least. First, the severe weather of yesterday produced the first tornado of the year in SW OK near Duncan. Fortunately, there were no injuries and minimal damage. Until yesterday it had been 248 days since the last tornado occurrence anywhere in the state which ties with another 248 days back in 1990-1991. The record longest streak still stands at 292 consecutive days without a tornado set back in 2003-2004. Despite the storms, rainfall was not particularly generous as the first map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, shows.

Then, we had another taste of winter this morning with some brief snow flurry action over the more northern counties and into the Tulsa area. In case you are wondering, the latest observed snowfall for Tulsa was on May 2 last year. The previous record was on Apr 18, 1953; so this was not a record setter by any stretch.

But, it is certainly a reminder that we can get mighty chilly at this time of year. Notice the second map on the right, also courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which shows the 24 hour temperature change from this time yesterday. The clouds and gusty northerly winds are holding our daytime temperatures into the 40s and we may end up setting a record for coldest high temperature for this date. Those clouds will be clearing out tonight and the winds will be calming down after the sun goes down as well. Bottom line-that is a recipe for excellent radiational cooling to take place tonight and freeze warnings have been posted for the entire state. Any tender plants that are outside will require protection as temperatures in the mid-upper 20s are expected by early morning.

Also, the clear skies tonight will provide excellent viewing of the full lunar eclipse that will occur tonight. Best time should be in the 1-3AM time frame here in Oklahoma.

Sunny skies and a more SW wind should allow temperatures to recover into the lower 60s Tue afternoon, but that is still about 10 degrees cooler than normal. Strong southerly winds will return for Wednesday raising fire danger concerns, but increasing cloud cover should hold daytime highs into the mid 60s. Our next chance for showers/thunder looks to be later Thursday or perhaps into Friday morning. Right now this does not appear to pose a severe weather threat.

Warmer weather, or at least temperatures closer to normal will prevail for the Easter weekend but there will also be a chance of showers or thunder, particularly on Easter Sunday itself.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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