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Dick Faurot's Weather Blog: Moisture Deficit Over The Last 4-Plus Years

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As mentioned in yesterday's blog, January moisture was nearly an inch below normal here in Tulsa and even more than that in other parts of NE OK. That continues a trend that has been far too prevalent in recent years; in fact, going all the way back to Oct of 2010, which is considered to be the beginning of this current drought cycle.

If you are wondering just how far behind we have fallen, notice the first map courtesy of the OK Mesonet, it shows the departure from normal since then and some parts of the state, including here in NE OK, have experienced a deficit of about 50” during that time frame.

Now, that does not mean we have to have 50” of moisture to end the drought, it just illustrates the magnitude of the moisture deficit since Oct of 2010.

Quite frankly, the rains of this past weekend have us in pretty good shape with regard to soil moisture at the present time. Notice the soil moisture map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, at the 4” level for example.

Speaking of the soil, notice the third map which shows the soil temperatures at the 2” level under sod. Pretty chilly ground temperatures, but at least we have some moisture in the ground.

So, at least for now our soil moisture is in pretty good shape, but the impacts of the drought involve more than just that. Many of our ponds, lakes, and streams are also impacted and are quite low; for example the record low levels at Skiatook.

As also mentioned yesterday, our prospects for anything more than normal moisture during the month of February are not very promising as there is not a strong signal one way or the other as to whether it will be dry, wet, or near normal. The month is certainly getting off to a dry start as over the course of our short term forecast our prospects for any significant moisture are in the slim to none category.

Notice the QPF map covering the next 7 days which has us pretty much high and dry.

What little moisture we may receive during that time frame will be late Wednesday and that night behind our next cold front. That front will be arriving in Tulsa probably before the noon hour, which means temperatures will be falling all afternoon, along with strong and gusty northerly winds.

After being in the 50s today, Wednesday will start off relatively mild with morning lows in the 30s but only reaching the 40s before the cold air surges back over us. Temperatures will likely be at or below freezing N of I-40 by late afternoon, and with northerly winds gusting to 30 mph or more wind chill values will likely be in the low teens.

Along with the much colder air will be some brief, light precipitation late Wednesday - particularly for the more NE counties - but little or no accumulation is expected even there. It will likely start as some drizzle or sprinkles quickly transitioning over to snow/sleet, but this will not be a high impact event and no travel issues are currently anticipated.

This will be a brief, but extreme, shot of cold air with Thursday morning starting off in the teens and struggling to get above freezing that afternoon.

However, as you can see on our forecast page, that will be the bottom of the roller coaster ride for this forecast cycle as Friday will see a rapid rebound which will continue into the weekend.

So, although our prospects for any significant moisture are not very promising anytime soon, at least we have a nice weekend to look forward to.

As always, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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