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Record Highs Today, Brief Cool-Down for Wed/Thu

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Hard to believe this is February.  Notice the high temperatures today across the state and as might be expected a number of records have been broken.  For example, here in Tulsa our high of 76 breaks the previous record of 73 set back in 2007.  By the way, the normal max/min at this time is year is 51/29.

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Interestingly, we managed to break the record despite a mostly cloudy day.  Typically, our record setting high temperatures during the winter occur on bright, sunny days together with a gusty SW wind.  We have had gusty winds today, but they have been more from the S to occasionally a SW component instead of a strong and consistent SW direction.  Notice the gusts and direction as of early this evening.

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By the way, the more SW winds to our west mark the position of a dry line that will be moving eastward overnight shifting our winds to a more westerly component by morning and bringing in much drier air.  As the day wears on the wind will become more NW keeping the air very dry but not really cooling things off much.  Wind speeds will be much lighter through the day with winds generally on the order of 5-15 mph.  We will have lots of sunshine with just some high level cirrus clouds and those lighter winds will not scour out the warm air so we will have another very warm day. In fact, we will start the day on Tuesday close to our normal daytime high and expect to once again make it into the 70s that afternoon despite the more northerly wind component. 

The record for tomorrow is 78 so it is not likely that we will challenge that particular record, but still extremely warm for this time of year.  Cooler air will be filtering in that night with stronger northerly winds for Wednesday, but still above normal.  As you can see on our forecast page, the coolest day of this forecast cycle will be Thursday, but that will be a brief cool down followed by another rapid rebound.  In fact, gusty southerly winds will return for Friday continuing through the day Saturday before another weak cool front arrives on Sunday. 

As a result, we should be back in the 70s Friday and will likely threaten records again on Saturday.  We are currently anticipating temperatures to be around the 80 degree mark and the current record is 77.  The main issue through this week is the lack of moisture together with the very warm temperatures which will combine to create high fire danger concerns, particularly on those days with the strongest winds.

We will turn cooler again for Sunday and Monday, but temperatures will still be running above normal as that next front looks to be a rather weak one.  We really need moisture, but our prospects are only slim at best.  Cannot rule out a few isolated showers and perhaps even a storm or two tonight for the far eastern counties, but anything that forms there will quickly move on eastward.  We will have another slight chance of showers on Sunday or Sunday night, but as you can see on the 7 day QPF map, anything we might receive will be light with the more significant amounts once again well to our east.

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Looking further down the road, the 8-14 day guidance continues to suggest a strong signal for temperatures to, on average, remain well above normal.  Also, there is little or no mention of rain for that time frame and as mentioned, we do need the moisture.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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