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Late Night Storms, Much Cooler For Wednesday

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After the cool start this morning, we had a nice rebound this afternoon with enough sunshine to push our daytime highs well into the 70s.  Notice, however, the 60s in the western Panhandle; that is quite an accomplishment considering they had a foot of snow over the weekend.  For Tulsa, our max/min has so far been 79/48 and here is a link to the normal values for this time of year.

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However, those warm afternoon temperatures are not going to last long as we are in for a big cool-down for Wednesday and Thursday.  The storm system that will bring the cooler air our way will also bring a good chance of showers and storms for later tonight, through the morning hours of Wednesday, and there may be some lingering light showers on the backside even into the day Thursday as you can see on our forecast page.  After that we expect to be drying out at long last.  Meanwhile, some of the storms later tonight and into the morning hours could be marginally severe with primarily a wind/hail threat. The timing looks to limit the available instability although the dynamics aloft will be strong enough to overcome that to a certain extent and therefore the current outlook suggests primarily a hail threat although some locally damaging winds will also be possible.

Unfortunately, there is also the potential for an inch or two of rain with this system as you can see on the QPF map.  Since this will be largely from storms, then the rainfall rate could be a problem and a flood watch has been issued for much of NE OK by the good folks at the local NWS office.  We certainly do not need any additional moisture anywhere, but as you can see on the map, the projections currently suggest the heaviest amounts will be over the far northern counties and into SE KS; not that they need any additional rains either.  At any rate, be weather aware for the morning commute as there could be some ponding on roads and low lying areas may be covered with water.

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As mentioned, the storms will be moving on eastward during the morning hours but there will be some lingering light showers into the afternoon and perhaps into the morning hours of Thursday on the backside of the storm system.  The backside will also be much cooler than today and look for temperatures on Wednesday to be warmest first thing in the morning when we will likely be near the 60 degree mark.  After that, gusty NW winds, cloudy skies, and lingering showers will hold us in the 50s for the rest of the day so it will be quite cool and blustery compared to today.  Thursday will also be cooler than normal with the lingering cloud cover, gusty northerly winds, and perhaps a few light showers.

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As we get into the latter part of the week, the upper level storm system will slow down and the pattern aloft will form what we refer to as an omega block. The reason for that terminology is the upper level wind flow resembles the Greek letter omega.  This is a slow moving, rather stable pattern that usually persists for days on end.  Notice the projected flow at the 500 mb level, or about 18,000' above sea level by Monday morning of next week.  I have labeled the two upper level storms systems that form both sides of the omega letter and notice they are on both sides of OK.  In other words, we are between the two storm system with ridging aloft centered over the Sooner State.  That means a mostly sunny, warm, dry pattern that will persist through the coming weekend and well into next week.

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Eventually, this pattern will break down and the storm system to our west will move our way bringing another round of unsettled weather.  However, these omega patterns can be very difficult to forecast regarding just when and how fast that will happen so for now will project the pattern becoming more unsettled again toward the middle or perhaps the latter part of next week.  Again, it may be several days before those trends become better defined.

At least we will finally have an extended period of warm, dry weather to start the drying process which is certainly needed.  However, keep in mind that May is normally our wettest month of the year and as you can see on the 8-14 day outlook, the longer range guidance suggests a return to a more unsettled pattern along with temperatures closer to if not averaging below normal during that time period.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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