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Fire Danger Flares Up

Fire Danger Flares Up

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It’s hard to believe that shortly after flooding rainfall, fire danger would be such a concern. However, March is a month known for big swings in Oklahoma and the pendulum has swung back to the dry pattern again. Coupled with powerful winds, we are in for a few days of potential wildfire woes.

Behind the cold front early this morning, dewpoint readings fell precipitously. This is allowing the relative humidity to dip to 20% or lower in Green Country. Howling winds on the backside of a powerful low pressure is creating the ability for out-of-control flames to spread upwards of 300 feet per minute. There’s also an added issue for fighting these fires. Due to recent rainfall, the ground is very muddy. This would make it easy for fire equipment to get stuck in the mud while trying to hold back flames. Who knew rainfall could make wildfires even worse?


Tuesday will be the most critical fire danger. Winds will strengthen as that same low pressure  dips closer to our region, tightening the pressure gradient. Gusts could exceed 40mph midday with equally dry air as today. While no counties in eastern Oklahoma are officially under a Burn Ban, no one should be burning outdoors through Tuesday afternoon given these conditions. Above, you’ll see the day-by-day breakdown of our fire danger.

Conditions improve by midweek as both temperatures and wind speeds go down. Starting tonight, wind chill values will dip into the 20s. Actual readings in the 20s are likely Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Cold, winter-like conditions aren’t finished with Oklahoma yet so keep that big coat on hand this week.

Later in the week, south winds will return and so will some amount of moisture. Depending on the quality of moisture and jet stream set-up, we might be in for a more spring-like storm system this weekend. The latest and greatest computer model guidance is showing a less organized storm system with meager moisture for us, but that is our next shot of active weather (aside from potential wildfires). By Sunday, another shot of colder air arrives.

It doesn’t appear that any of that future cold air is meeting up with moisture in a way to give us wintry weather. While the window remains open for little late-season snow, the pattern just isn’t supporting it at this point, just giving us a fleeting few moments of sufficiently cold enough air well after precipitation has passed. Aside from another cool spell a week from now, it is a warmer, more spring-like pattern setting up for us. Through mid-March, a warmer than normal scenario seems to be playing out as you see below. That doesn’t leave us much room for wintry weather beyond there. It’s too early to fully write winter off, but things are certainly trending in a warmer direction at this point.


For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganotheGO and on my Facebook Page.

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