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Mother Nature’s Fireworks For The Fourth

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Heavy storms interrupted a lot of holiday weekend plans on our Sunday afternoon and evening. Rainfall amounts were spotty, but locally heavy. Very heavy. Check out the rain totals below from the past 24 hours! More storms are expected in the next 24 hours, likely to impact some outdoor holiday plans. Here’s the break-down of that threat.

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                All signs point to a severe cluster of storms forming rapidly in northwestern Oklahoma late Monday afternoon given strong instability and a compact piece of energy slowly moving east into the state. This likely generates upscale growth of the storms into a squall line capable of strong winds tonight as they race eastward towards Green Country. Most of the storms should hold off until after dark although the somewhat unstable afternoon air mass may spark a few isolated thundershowers. While the storm complex is likely to weaken on its path eastward through the state, we could still end up with some high winds, some hail and continued flash flooding concerns, especially south of I-40. The map below shows the risk area for severe weather through tonight.

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                Rain and thunder should gradually taper off Tuesday morning. If you’re out the door at the break of dawn for a tee time or other outdoor activities, you may have some rain to spoil those plans. However, we’ll likely see a lull in the activity from mid-morning into the early afternoon hours. That seems to be the best time to plan outdoor time on the 4th! The afternoon and evening doesn’t look like a washout, but more scattered storms are likely to form along residual boundaries left from the storms the night before. That, along with a weak upper-level disturbance slowly moving over the area, will trigger this next possible round of inclement weather. The timing isn’t nailed down, but anywhere from mid-afternoon Tuesday until early Wednesday morning seems to be another peak in storm activity. This could affect those BBQs, pool time and even a few fireworks displays. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll have a few dry hours in the evening to get in those fireworks, but it’s not a guarantee this year. My advice would be to have a back-up plan or at least bring rain gear to the shows. Below, you’ll see the rain chance timeline between tonight and Wednesday morning.

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                The good news about this rain and cloud cover will be the effect on our temperatures. We’ve trended down those readings through midweek with temperatures not likely rising above 90° until Wednesday or possibly Thursday. The bad news about all of this rain is that it could fall on spots already saturated, leading to rapid road flooding. Be extremely cautious if you’re traveling in this time frame and avoid any standing or moving water on the pavement. Below is a computer model estimate of rainfall through midday Wednesday.

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                Eventually, a large ridge developing in the jet stream over the Rockies will expand drier and hotter weather into Oklahoma. By the end of the week, we have some of the hottest temperatures of the year with a heat index well above the century mark. The edge may be taken off the heat this weekend with a backdoor cold front sliding southward, but it may be only temporary relief to the building summer heat dome that seems to be fully in place by next week.

                Enjoy the holiday rains if you can! Many of us still need the moisture even if the timing is less than ideal. Just don’t hesitate to move festivities indoors if storms fire in your neck of the woods. For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and like my Facebook Page!

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