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Heating Up For the Holiday Weekend

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Happy Independence Day, everyone! We, Oklahomans, are lucking out with an outstanding day of weather. Temperatures started in the 50s and lower 60s – about 10 degrees below normal (see first map). They will end up in the upper 80s by afternoon with a light south wind – still below normal. By evening, temperatures will cool to the lower 80s and upper 70s – nearly ideal for those firework displays.

It's a quiet weather pattern that leads to the inevitable warm-up this weekend. A ridge of high pressure will build into eastern Oklahoma, bringing back southerly winds at the surface and allowing 90°+ temperatures again. It's nothing out of the ordinary. By Sunday, however, enough moisture will be back in the air to give us near 100° heat index values. Essentially our holiday weekend will track from the refreshingly cool air to intense mugginess yet again. It is July, after all…

If you're looking beyond the weekend, next week doesn't offer too much relief. The hottest air of the year is likely in place Monday into Tuesday with heat index values exceeding the century mark both afternoons again. Our only hope of relief comes with a weak cold front that may settle far enough south to set off a few storms in northeastern Oklahoma by midweek. Even the additional clouds will help matters out a bit.

We should be thankful we didn't have to deal with a land-falling Category 2 hurricane though. Hurricane Arthur moved ashore near the Outer Banks of North Carolina late Thursday night packing winds of 100mph. Arthur will slowly weaken as it races over the open sea to Nova Scotia by Saturday morning. It will come close enough to the New England coast to cause dangerous rip tides, gusty winds and rain – a miserable 4th overall. It's an unusual hurricane, especially in relation to its strength and track for this early in the season. It was first land-falling hurricane since Sandy in 2012 and we haven't had a hurricane of that strength hit U.S. land since Ike in 2008.

Things will be much calmer over our waters this weekend. Lake levels are doing well and running a bit higher than normal at most eastern Oklahoma lakes due to a wet June (Skiatook being the exception). Just remember that water and sunscreen are good friends to have over the weekend whether you're at the lake or just having a BBQ outside. Enjoy the great weather this holiday weekend. Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and like my Facebook page!

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