Clearing Tonight, Frost/Freeze Potential.
The severe storms that rolled through yesterday afternoon and evening were pretty good at producing hail as we had numerous reports up to the size of golf balls, but they were also moving at a rapid clip which reduced the rainfall amounts. Notice the 24 hour rainfall totals across the state, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. Those totals would also include some of the wrap around showers that have persisted into the day today.
As we go through the night tonight, those lingering showers will be quickly dissipating and our skies will be clearing from W-E. Also, our winds which have been quite gusty today will quickly subside with the setting sun. Notice how strong the winds have been today as maximum wind gusts have been recorded up to 50 mph in some locations.
As the winds settle down and the skies clear, look for temperatures to quickly drop back through the 50s and eventually into the upper 30s to low 40s to start the day Thursday. That means there could be some patchy frost in some of the more protected valley locations of NE OK by morning. By the way, today has certainly been a cool one with a max/min of 64/47. Click here for the normal and record values for this date or any other for that matter.
After the chilly start, we will have lots of sunshine for Thursday, but we will also have northerly winds all day. Nothing as strong as today, but those winds of 10-15 with some higher gusts will keep afternoon temperatures in the 60s. A cool high pressure ridge will be settling over us then for Thursday night with clear skies, light winds, and cool, dry air in place. That is a recipe for maximum radiational cooling to take place and temperatures are expected to tumble into the 30s in many locations for Friday morning. Here in Tulsa, we should drop into the upper 30s, but the normally cooler valley locations in NE OK could drop to near the freezing mark. Suggest protecting any tender vegetation that may be exposed.
Sunny skies for Friday afternoon and a return to light southerly winds should push afternoon temperatures to near the 70 degree mark followed by even warmer conditions for the coming weekend. As you can see on our forecast page, gusty southerly winds will be returning for Sat/Sun which will not only provide much warmer temperatures but will also bring low level moisture back into the state. That means increasing cloud cover, particularly for Sunday and with our next storm system expected to move across the state Sunday night into the Monday morning time frame, we will also have another chance of showers/storms. This system will not be of the intensity of the last system, but will have the potential for some of those storms to be locally severe. Far too early to get specific regarding storm mode, just be aware of the potential for a few severe storms Sunday night. Current data runs also suggest the system will get better organized as it moves further SE which is where the better rainfall totals will likely occur. Notice the 7 day QPF has a very tight W-E gradient of projected rainfall amounts.
After that, the rest of the day Monday and through the day Tuesday should be dry and somewhat milder with northerly winds behind the weak frontal boundary. Beyond that time frame, the longer range guidance diverges with one of the solutions bringing another widespread rainfall event starting on Wednesday through the latter part of the week(the GFS) and another keeps us dry(the ECMWF). That sort of inconsistency is not uncommon at this time of year but does make for a low confidence forecast at the end of this forecast cycle. Currently, am leaning toward the drier, more settled scenario and it will probably be several more data runs before the solutions settle down to some sort of consensus.
At any rate, the 8-14 day guidance does keep us with warmer than normal temperatures and near normal precipitation chances going through Easter weekend.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.