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Freeze Warning Tonight, Likely Again Saturday Night

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T change T change
rain rain
freeze freeze
6-10 6-10

What a difference a day can make.  Notice the 24 hour temperature change map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which clearly shows a significant drop in temperatures from the same time yesterday.  As a result, this is the first day we have had below normal temperatures so far for the month of March.

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The front that brought the cooler air back into the state did not drop much rainfall though, except for the more E and SE counties.  Some heavy storms did drop some very heavy rains and even some hail over the extreme SE counties, but for the most part, what rain did fall was very light.

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It was also a windy day today with wind gusts over 30 mph at times.  Those winds are bringing in the cooler air and also drier air which will result in clearing skies tonight.  By morning, the winds will also have settled down considerably with winds generally less than 10 mph.  That means with cool, dry air in place along with light winds and clear skies by morning, this all adds up to excellent radiational cooling conditions for tonight and temperatures will be dropping to at or below freezing at many locations by morning.  For that reason, a freeze warning has been issued by the good folks at the local NWS office.

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As you can see on our forecast page, we have dropped the forecast low for Tulsa to an even 32 degrees, but the more urban areas will likely be a few degrees warmer than that and the more rural areas a few degrees cooler.  Even for locations that do not ‘officially’ reach the freezing mark, look for frost to be widespread so tender plants will require protection in any event.

Sunday morning will likely see a repeat performance with freezing or near freezing temperatures likely to be widespread that morning and Monday morning will be in the 30s as well.  As for daytime temperatures, despite the sunshine that will be the general rule both Saturday and Sunday, a brisk N to NW wind will keep our daytime highs in the 50s which will make 3 straight days with below normal temperatures after the continuous string of above normal temperatures that have dominated March to this point.  Ironically, the coldest temperatures of the entire month will also coincide with the calendar start of Spring at 11:30 Saturday night.

Another system aloft will spread some clouds overhead for Saturday afternoon and evening, but those clouds are expected to have cleared out by Sunday morning allowing temperatures to drop to at or below freezing once again.

By Monday, our winds will be returning to a southerly direction and becoming rather gusty.  Strong southerly winds will then continue through Wednesday along with much warmer temperatures once again.  That will result in another increase in the fire danger, particularly on Tuesday which looks to have the worst combination of wind, temperature, and low humidity.  Wednesday will see increasing moisture in advance of our next storm system which will provide more cloud cover, perhaps a few showers late in the day, and at least mitigate the fire danger somewhat.

The timing on the next major storm system is still somewhat questionable as the longer range guidance has not been very consistent from run to run nor from model to model.  At any rate, preliminary indications suggest this next system could turn out to be a very stormy one and could turn out to be a trouble maker.  For now, will call for a chance of showers/storms for the Wednesday night/Thursday time frame and that should be followed by falling temperatures during the day Thursday.  Barring any flips in subsequent data runs, that timing should lead to a nice day for Good Friday.  As for the Easter weekend, notice the 6-10 day outlook has a signal suggesting some more active weather may return over that time frame, but that is certainly subject to change in the days ahead.

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In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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