Drought Remains a Concern.
The drought monitor is updated every Thursday and the latest edition that came out this morning still has the state in widespread drought conditions as you can see here.
I know, I know…..what about all that rain we have received over the last two weekends as the statewide OK Mesonet clearly shows. We have certainly received some badly needed rainfall during those two events but keep in mind that drought is something that develops over time and it typically takes more than one or two decent rain events to end a drought.
Although the soils are now wet, ponds, lakes, and streams are still dealing with the rainfall deficit that developed throughout last year. In fact, this product from the OK Mesonet shows the rainfall deficit over just the last 90 days across the state and clearly shows that the more eastern counties have been particularly hard hit. Point is that we are still in need of precipitation and it will take several more widespread events to bring us back to where we need to be. But, winter is our driest time of the year and our prospects are not very promising anytime soon as you can see on our forecast page.
Speaking of the forecast, some cloud cover that moved over the more NE counties today will be clearing out tonight and the clear skies together with a light W/NW breeze will allow temperatures to drop into the 20s again to start the day. Lots of sunshine on Friday will try to overcome a continued NW wind of 10-20 mph and afternoon temperatures should make it into the mid-upper 40s. But, relative humidity levels will be dropping into the low 30% range during the heat of the day and with those brisk NW winds, there will be some grassland fire danger concerns.
In fact, fire danger will also be a concern through the weekend and into next week as temperatures moderate and we keep brisk NW winds gradually becoming SW by Monday. Temperatures had a tough time rebounding today, particularly over the more NE counties due to those clouds that moved over during the day. Although the data suggests lots of sunshine into early next week, clouds are still a wild card as the NW wind flow aloft will keep the potential for some occasional cloud cover to move overhead from time to time.
At any rate, look for daytime highs to generally be in the 40s to near 50 on Saturday and in the low 50s on Sunday with the assumption of lots of sunshine which is what the data runs currently suggest. However, if we should get a layer of clouds moving over during the afternoon hours, that could knock those numbers down somewhat. By Monday, a more SW wind will certainly warm things up during the day and we still expect plenty of sunshine.
A weak front still looks to arrive later in the day Tuesday and probably will not have much of an impact on temperatures for Tuesday, depending on the timing. If it should come through a little earlier than currently expected, then we may not quite make the 60 that is forecast. Temperatures will then be closer to normal for Wednesday and Thursday along with more cloud cover. But, there is still no sign of any storm systems coming our way through this forecast period as you can see on the 7 day QPF.
By that following weekend, the longer range guidance does suggest temperatures above normal once again along with at least a chance of some scattered showers. But, the 8-14 day outlook which would extend into that following week suggests temperatures will average closer to normal and at least a chance of some scattered showers for that time frame.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.