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Dick Faurot's Weather Blog: Chance Of Storms, Turning Colder Late Tuesday

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After the near record rainfall of Nov/Dec, this past January certainly provided some relief. It is normally the driest month of the year anyway, and with less than an inch of precipitation recorded at most locations across the state, it was much drier than normal.

Notice the statewide January precipitation totals, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. In fact, we were more than an inch below normal here in Tulsa with only 0.61” recorded and 1.66” is the long-term average. Of that, 2.5” was snowfall, which is close to the norm of 2.7” as recorded at the official location near 11th and 169. With snowfall, obviously, your location may have received a little more or much less.

As for temperatures, the month was colder than normal for the most part, until the last few days. Those very warm days at the end of the month were enough to bring the average temperature to just above normal by .4 of a degree. We also had two days during the month in which the temperature failed to get above freezing.

Since January ended on such a warm note, February has gotten off to a very mild start as well. Notice the max/min temperature map across the state for today and keep in mind the normal daytime high at this time of year for Tulsa is right at 50.

That will be changing over the next 24 hours, though, as a storm system will be moving through the Central Plains pushing a dryline and then a cold front across the state.

Gusty SE winds ahead of the dryline will keep temperatures very mild tonight and there will be a good chance of showers and perhaps even some thunder. By morning, all that activity will have pushed on eastward and a more SW wind will help bring in drier air and clearing skies. That means temperatures should rebound from the upper 40s to start to the day to well into the 50s by mid-day.

Then, the cold front will arrive later in the afternoon and evening with the winds shifting to a more NW direction bringing in much colder air and falling temperatures. By the way, those winds will be strong and gusty as they shift from the SE to the SW and then the NW.

Wednesday looks to be the coldest day of this forecast cycle, as you can see on our forecast page. After that, temperatures will be rebounding as we head into the coming weekend. Although several weak boundaries will be impacting the wind direction through the weekend, no major temperature changes are expected until the first of next week when much colder air will once again return. However, after tonight, it appears that our chances of any precipitation of consequence will be beyond this forecast cycle.

As mentioned above, the very dry January was preceded by near record amounts of moisture during Nov/Dec. Those torrential rains have largely been attributed to the very strong El Nino that is still ongoing in the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, the storm track has shifted through January, keeping the major storm systems away from us. That raises the question regarding the rest of the winter and into the spring as the El Nino event is on-going, although showing signs of beginning to weaken.

It is rare for an El Nino to extend beyond the springtime, and this one is expected to be weakening rather rapidly over the next several months. Even so, the expectation is that its influence will maintain a relatively wet signal for the state not only through February but right on through April, as you can see on the graphics.

As for temperatures, there is no well-defined signal either for colder or warmer than normal conditions through that time frame.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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