Alan Crone's Weather Blog: Red Flag Fire Alert
TULSA, Oklahoma - Some locations across eastern OK will experience a few showers or storms this morning to midday. A few may be strong to severe, more than likely this would occur across extreme eastern OK and western Arkansas. The threat for severe storms near the Tulsa metro is extremely low this morning. Strong winds will be likely today for the entire region as a powerful storm system moves across the central plains into the Midwest. After the chance of early morning to midday showers and storms, the fire danger will be increasing across the area by afternoon. Highs today will be in the 70s with temperatures falling into the upper 50s by 6pm tonight.
The very strong upper level system is quickly moving into the plains while a powerful surface low is tracking from western Kansas into northern Iowa by later today. A dry line extends southward from the low pressure area and is positioned across western OK this morning. A surface cold front will dive down from the Rockies and into northwestern OK late this afternoon. All of these features will be impacting the weather across eastern OK today and this evening.
The first issue is the potential for storms this morning. Local dew points are increasing across eastern OK in advance of the dry line with warm and moistening air moving into the eastern third of the state. This moisture appears to be relatively shallow and should result in spotty showers developing during the next few hours. As we move into the early morning hours the moisture may attempt to improve slightly as the dry line remains west of the area. Powerful winds aloft will race across the region and could provide a few strong to severe storms across eastern OK. But most convective model output remains rather anemic regarding these storm chances. With such strong shear across the area this morning, we’ll need to keep the mention for severe storms in the forecast, but the threat for severe storms appears extremely low. By 10am to noon the dry line is rapidly approaching the metro and any showers or storms will be moving eastward. The window for showers or storms near the metro will be from 6am to 10am, the window for southeastern and east-central OK from 6am to noon, and the window for extreme eastern OK from 9am to 1pm.
As the dry line passes the area very dry air will invade the region along with southwest to westerly winds at 20 to 35 mph. Some wind gusts near 45 mph will be possible by the afternoon and early evening. A wind advisory will more than likely be required for portions of northern OK. Winds may be even higher across the north-central sections of the state westward into northwestern OK where high wind warnings may be required for a few counties today.
The surface cold front will pass the area later tonight bringing cooler air into the area late this evening into Thursday morning. Lows in the upper 30s and lower 40s will be followed by highs in the lower 60s along with northwest winds at 10 to 15 mph and abundant sunshine. A weak cold front will arrive Thursday night with a surface ridge of high pressure developing across northeastern OK Friday morning allowing morning lows in the mid-30s and highs near 60.
The weekend appears mostly pleasant and mostly dry but late Sunday night into Monday the next system approaches in the southern stream with increasing rain and storm chances for the early part of next week. The data is not consistent regarding the middle of the week but the trend supports another robust system nearing the state followed by a significant cool down late next week.
Thanks for reading the Wednesday morning weather discussion and blog.