It’s no surprise that as we head into the second half of July in Oklahoma, big-time heat is upon us. The hot stretches this summer keep getting hotter and the week ahead will be no exception. A massive ridge of high pressure is building over the central U.S., blocking any storm system from bringing heat relief. Instead, each day will bring very few clouds and a continued heating of an already humid air mass.

                As of Monday evening, we’ve seen a slight respite from the worst of the mugginess.  For the Tulsa area, the dewpoint (temperature of condensation like dew or fog) has dipped by almost 10° compared to last evening. That slight dry-out makes a big difference in the comfort levels after such a humid weekend following our rainfall. Unfortunately, moisture levels AND heat levels rise this week. It’s thanks that familiar friend (or foe) of summer, the expansive high pressure dome (called the Heat Dome). It strengthens directly over Oklahoma, allowing fewer clouds, more evaporation to occur and thus, greater heat and humidity.

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                It’s a gradual warming trend of just a degree or two each day. However, by the weekend, that makes for some serious heat. So far, Tulsa’s hottest reading of 2017 has been a measly 97°. However, we are likely to surpass that mark by Wednesday and hit the century mark by Thursday or Friday. The heat index, however, will soar past the century mark each afternoon.  By Saturday, we may rise to a high of 101° or hotter in a few spots with a heat index between 105° and 110°.

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                Heat waves can be far worse in Oklahoma this time of year, but we haven’t reached the peak of the season yet. That usually comes in early August. So far, our moist environment has kept our temperatures from spiking to the century mark. Below is a list of the highest number of consecutive days at or above 100° Tulsa has seen.  We could end up with a 4 or 5 day streak, but there are signs that the ridge may flatten and allow for a cold front to near the area. It might be just enough to take the edge off the heat for a few days early next week. However, the longer term projections keep us very hot and generally dry. The jet stream remains to our north and we likely continue to bake in the doldrums between the active storm track and the tropical development closer to the coasts. Below is the outlook through the rest of July.

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                It looks like we’re in it for the long haul. Until the hot season crests or we see a big pattern change into August, we’ll need to find good, creative ways to beat the heat!  For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page.