It’s hard to believe we are talking thunderstorms just days after parts of Green Country had actual temperatures below 0°! The removal of the persistent eastern U.S. trough in the jet stream can be thanked for our dramatic warm-up this weekend. In this new pattern, another storm system is pushing in from the West. Instead of bringing Arctic air, this storm system is more like a spring one, drawing up Gulf moisture and warmth, which will clash along a cold front and dryline in our area Sunday.

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                The initial moisture return will result in cloudy skies by early Sunday and areas of drizzle. Light showers will continue to advance northward into Green Country before the main event Sunday afternoon. For Tulsa, a few spotty showers or periods of drizzle are possible in the morning, but the best chance of rain comes in the early afternoon. Peak afternoon heating will fuel thunderstorms to fire along a line just east of Tulsa. Even with low instability, these storms could tap into some powerful winds aloft and allow them to come swooping to the surface. The highest wind threat will be near the Arkansas line late in the afternoon and early evening. Below is the general area where these storms are possible. While hail and tornadoes aren’t likely in eastern Oklahoma, they can’t be ruled out in the strongest of storms. Be weather aware, especially east of Highway 69 between 4pm and 9pm. Rain isn’t a guarantee anywhere, but the mild air is so enjoy the near-record breaking temperatures Sunday! The second map below shows a computer model depiction of the storms by early evening.

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                While the Tulsa area likely misses out on anything heavy, we still have a moderate chance for some much-needed moisture. If you live much west of Tulsa, your chance of rain is next to nothing. Instead, powerful winds out of the south will whip up high fire danger. This could be a critical situation for western Oklahoma where extremely dry, but mild air mixes with the strong winds. Even with moisture in the air in Green Country, tomorrow won’t be a good day for outdoor burning. The same is especially true by Monday when, behind the storm system, drier but just as windy conditions arrive. Below is that threat outlined into midweek.

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                It’s a fairly quiet weather pattern for much of the upcoming week, but another storm system of similar strength and path will arrive next weekend for a potentially similar set-up.  Temperatures are likely to remain fairly mild even behind Sunday’s storm system since it will not draw southward much Arctic air likely previous cold fronts. The zonal (west-to-east) flow in the jet stream will keep the bitter cold locked up north of the U.S.-Canadian border for a stretch. It’s not until we get towards the end of January when colder air, capable of any real wintry weather could come our way.

                In the meantime, enjoy this mid-winter fling with spring! For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page.