Warmer, Then Storms Likely.
This has been one of those days in which it looked like it could rain at most any time, but so far only a few sprinkles have fallen. Despite the lack of any rain cooled air, the combination of cloudy skies and a brisk E wind certainly kept temperatures much cooler that the last several days have been. Notice though that some parts of the state still were in the 80s this afternoon so the very warm air is not too far away and will not take long to return. For Tulsa, the max/min so far today has been 64\54 so certainly a very short thermometer. Click here to see the normal and record values for this date and for that matter any previous date.
For tonight, our winds will be more E to SE as the night wears on and with lingering cloud cover, temperatures will not be cooling too much and most of us should hold in the low-mid 50s to start the day on Thursday. There may also be a few sprinkles or a light shower, particularly for the more northern counties. Then, as we go through the day Thursday a strong SE wind gusting to 30 mph or more and plenty of afternoon sunshine will push temperatures well into the 70s to near 80 for a daytime high. That means another high fire danger situation.
Friday still looks to be more unsettled as a strong storm system aloft will be moving eastward across the state bringing a good chance of a more widespread line of showers and storms, some of which may be severe. Notice the severe weather outlook for Friday has expanded further westward with the new data that has come in over the last 24 hours. Right now the timing suggests the storms will be forming out west Thursday night into the Friday morning time frame and reaching the Tulsa area by late Friday morning to around Noon and on eastward from there that afternoon. If this works out as currently anticipated, the storms should be out of the state by evening. So far, the parameters suggest this will be primarily a damaging wind threat due to very strong winds at the surface and aloft but not much directional shear and the instability will be very limited. However, as the line progresses further eastward the instability should be more favorable so potentially a greater severe weather risk for far E OK and on into Arkansas that evening/night.
The cloudy skies and southerly winds will result in a very warm start to the day Friday and the cloudy skies and showers moving through during the middle of the day will also keep our daytime temperatures at least somewhat in check as you can see on our forecast page.
The main storm center aloft will be moving right over NE OK Friday night and into the morning hours of Saturday. Although we will be behind the surface feature by then, there may be some showers and perhaps even a few storms reforming for the Friday night/Saturday morning time frame. These will be on a very widely scattered basis but could still be locally quite strong. That will then be followed by a brisk NW wind and cooler conditions for the rest of the day Saturday with at least some afternoon sunshine and daytime highs holding in the 60s.
Yet another storm system will be coming at us later Sunday spreading more cloud cover back our way and bringing another chance of storms along about Sunday night or perhaps into the Monday morning time frame. Again, the timing of this next system is still somewhat in question as it is currently out in the Pacific Ocean as is the one that will be following that for the middle of next week. Notice the map valid for Saturday morning of the winds aloft at the 500 mb or about the 18,000' level. The colors represent where the winds are strongest, i.e. the jet stream at that level. I have labeled the succession of storms coming our way as #1, #2, and #3. #1 will be moving on east of us by Saturday morning, number two is expected to strengthen and impact our weather for the Sunday night time frame as mentioned. #3 has much more uncertainty as it is currently much further out in the Pacific and the long range guidance is very inconsistent regarding when it will be impacting our weather. One of the model runs does not have it affecting us till later Thursday, but that solution is an outlier and most of the other data runs have it impacting us on Wednesday. For now, am just calling for a slight chance of showers and storms on Wednesday as a hedge, and it may be several more days before we see better consistency in the data regarding the timing and intensity of that system.
At least with the potential for several rounds of showers and storms during the coming 7 day period, the 7 day QPF product has become more optimistic regarding how much rain we may receive by the time it is all said and done. Of course, at this time of year, anytime we get a good rain there is usually the potential for at least some of those storms to be severe so be very weather aware in the days to come.
Looking beyond that time frame, the 8-14 day trends continue to suggest a wetter than normal pattern going into early April along with a warmer than normal pattern. This all adds up to a very Spring-like pattern over the next two weeks.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates. Now that we are ‘officially’ into Spring, it could get interesting in the weeks ahead.