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Fire Danger Concerns Next Few Days.

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Although no records were set, it certainly was a chilly if not downright cold weekend with morning lows below freezing and daytime highs as much as ten degrees below normal.  Keep in mind the cold was not particularly unusual since our normal last freeze date is Mar 29.  But, with temperatures running more than 9 degrees above normal prior to this cold snap and the vegetation responding accordingly, it no doubt caused some damage.  Notice the hours below freezing over the past week, courtesy of the OK Mesonet.  The duration of the cold for our western neighbors is certainly cause for concern regarding the wheat crop, but the developing drought out there may be an even bigger concern.

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At any rate, after a cold start to the day today, temperatures warmed nicely this afternoon with the sunny skies and gusty southerly winds. 

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Unfortunately, the next couple of days will see even stronger southerly winds and even warmer temperatures as you can see on our forecast page.  In fact, southerly winds of 20-30 mph are likely through the night tonight which despite clear skies and dry air in place will keep temperatures from dropping too much.  Morning lows in the 40s or lower 50s are expected to start the day followed by afternoon highs well into the 70s.  Those warm temperatures together with winds potentially gusting to 40 mph and relative humidity levels dropping into the 30% range will result in another high fire danger for much of the state.

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Wednesday will also have a high fire danger with even warmer temperatures and stronger southerly winds, but the humidity level will be higher which may help somewhat and there will be at least a chance of showers/storms that afternoon or evening.  Our next cold front is expected to arrive that evening/early night but moisture will be limited except for the more eastern counties which is where storms will be most likely.  Some of those storms may be severe but will be quickly moving on eastward.

Increasing cloud cover on Wednesday will be replaced by decreasing cloud cover on Thursday along with gusty NW winds and much cooler temperatures.  Morning lows will be near 40 and daytime highs only in the 50s that afternoon.  A quick return to southerly winds Friday and lots of sunshine should get our daytime highs back into the 60s after another cold start that morning.

The weather for Easter weekend will see a return to an unsettled pattern as another storm system is headed our way and should be pushing another cold front through the area by Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  Gusty southerly winds and warmer conditions ahead of the cold front will be followed by gusty northerly winds and cooler conditions behind it for Sunday.  There will also be a chance of showers/storms along and ahead of the front although it is far too early to speculate on any severe threat. 

After that, looking further down the road at the 8-14 day outlook reveals an obvious pattern change.  After dealing with much warmer than normal temperatures for much of the winter and certainly all through the month of March (at least until this past weekend), it appears that a cooler signal will persist going into early April.  It also appears that the pattern will be relatively quiet with a near normal precipitation signal.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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