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Warming Trend.

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As expected, the showers/storms last night dumped the heaviest rains along the OK/KS state line as you can see from the map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet.  No doubt some locations received more as is often the case, but the rains certainly were not needed.  Notice it was also a pretty tight gradient from N-S.  Officially, Tulsa received 0.38" since midnight and speaking of midnight, the high for the day occurred shortly after midnight at 60 degrees as it has been a cool, breezy day on the backside of that storm system.

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For tonight, today's gusty NW winds will diminish somewhat but will still be rather breezy and the cloud cover will be slow to clear out.  In fact, there may be a few lingering light sprinkles for the overnight hours and for the more eastern counties towards morning.  Temperatures will be falling into the 40s and with a NW breeze of 10-15, Thursday morning will feel rather chilly.  As we go through the day Thursday, a gusty NW wind will keep temperatures below normal once again, but we also expect to see more sunshine which should allow our afternoon temperatures to reach well into the 60s and perhaps even near 70.  Still cooler than normal, but at least not as dreary as today has been.

After that, as you can see on our forecast page, things will start warming up.  Mostly sunny skies will be the general rule from Friday through the weekend and well into next week.  Also, a lighter northerly wind on Friday will finally shift back around to a southerly component on Saturday and southerly winds will be the general rule through most of next week.  That means that after Friday, temperatures will be running above normal for the rest of this forecast cycle.  

This is all due to a change in the wind pattern aloft which I alluded to in yesterday's blog.  This change is what we refer to as an omega block due to the wind pattern aloft resembling the Greek letter omega.  If you compare the wind flow aloft based on the data runs from yesterday and projected for the Monday morning time frame with the same features for Monday morning only based on the data runs of today, you will see they are very similar.  Again, the flow is the wind direction and strength at 500 mb or about 18,000' above sea level and the colors represent the strongest winds at that level, i.e. the jet stream.

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As mentioned yesterday, this is typically a very stable pattern and one in which changes are slow to occur.  That is why it is also referred to as a blocking pattern as storm systems are blocked from making their normal progression across the country.  Notice once again that the major storm systems are well to our west and to our NE and that we are under ridging aloft.  That means sunny, warm, and dry conditions which should persist for much of this forecast cycle.

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In fact, notice the 5 day QPF which has us high and dry.  It does suggest some moisture over far W OK but this map was prepared earlier in the day and takes into account some lingering showers out there for early tonight.  This all means we will finally get the chance to start drying out although it will take quite some time for the area lakes and rivers to recede.  

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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 and the longer range guidance is already having difficulties resolving when and with what intensity that process will take place.  For now, I am inclined to go with the slower solutions which means our next chance of rain is not expected until Wednesday night or perhaps Thursday of next week, if then.

However, 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 normal during that time period.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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