Mix very strong and gusty winds, low humidity levels and warm temperatures together and what do you get? An extremely high fire danger situation; which is exactly what happened today.

Notice the first three maps, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which show the strongest wind gusts measured today, the relative humidity level as of late in the afternoon and the max/min temperatures for the day - not a good combination to say the least.

Fortunately, the winds are relaxing now that the sun has gone down, and the humidity levels will rise as temperatures cool off tonight. The extremely dry air and strongest winds were on the heels of a dry line that moved across the state during the morning and into the afternoon hours, and the cooler air is arriving behind a cool front that arrived late in the day.

Typically, our surface winds will decouple from the stronger winds aloft after the sun goes down, and that is what will happen tonight. But, it will take several hours for that to take place, so rather gusty winds will continue into the early night time hours. Also, the pressure gradient will relax as a strong low-pressure system moves away from us and high pressure builds in over the next 24 hours.

Westerly winds of 10-18 mph by the midnight hour will subside further to 10-12 mph by early morning. As we go through the day Thursday, NW winds of 10-15 with some gusts to around 20 will be the general rule; the winds will calm down that night, followed by light winds for much of the day Friday. Increasing southerly winds will then precede the next storm system for Saturday and Sunday.

Pretty much clear skies for Thu/Fri, together with the drier surface air now in place will also result in some chilly nights. Morning lows in the upper 30s to near 40 tonight will be followed by low-mid 30s for Friday morning, which should be the coldest of this forecast cycle. That means frost will be likely for many of us and the potential for another freeze for the colder valleys of NE OK.

As you can see on our forecast page, the sunny days will result in 60s for most of us Thursday and Friday, but increasing cloud cover will likely inhibit the daytime warm-up as we go into the weekend and next week. The increasing clouds and a return to southerly winds will also result in warmer nights.

Our next storm system will be approaching by Sunday with a chance of showers and perhaps some storms, but somewhat lesser chances on Monday. Then, the longer range guidance continues to suggest the next storm will be gathering strength and could turn into a significant system during the Tue/Wed time frame of next week. Notice the 7-day QPF map which suggests the heaviest rains will be east of Green Country, but that is subject to change.

Looking further down the road at the 8-14-day outlooks, which will take us into Thanksgiving week, we see temperatures should average at or perhaps a bit above normal but there is still an unsettled signal with above normal chances of precipitation.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot