Weather Whiplash This Week
We began our Monday with record-shattering cold all across Green Country. This was the coldest reading Tulsa has hit this late in the season in fact. This was the ninth freeze in April – another record shattered for Tulsa. Most Aprils, we don’t dip below 32° at all! We’ve been waffling between winter and spring weather over the last two months and the back and forth may not be fully over yet.
A major warming trend is underway as write this Monday evening. The high temperatures in southwest Oklahoma were prominent signs of that today. As the map above shows, Mangum went from 30° Monday morning to 90° by afternoon. That is a SIXTY degree rise in readings! Even by Oklahoma standards, that is extreme. It’s not many days in general when you see both a killing freeze and summer heat within a relatively short distance!
So this warm-up will continue through Tuesday before another cold front arrives that night. Not enough moisture returns to bring any rain or storms with its passage and this will pose a problem by Wednesday when even drier, windier conditions are expected. Fire danger will spread eastward to Green Country again. Mitigated somewhat by our green up (albeit very staggered this season), fires could still spread quickly over a relatively dry surface. Fire danger out west will remain extreme through midweek, which is the last news they need that direction considering the massive ongoing wildfires.
Fire danger will quickly give way to a big deluge by the end of the week state-wide. A deep upper level low pressure will push into the southern Plains and funnel northward a firehose of moisture. This will bring more rain to western Oklahoma and the Panhandle region than many places have seen in over half a year! The southern track of this system likely keeps the severe weather south of our state this go-around, but the heavy rain and general storms are still expected given the powerful forcing. Widespread 1” to 3” rainfall is currently expected. Below is that general set-up. This is the good kind of weather whiplash.
The bad kind of whiplash (at least to many) comes with the colder air that comes with this next storm system arriving Friday night into the weekend. We’ll be on the cool side of it the whole time, meaning temperatures won’t climb out of the 50s. You might be yearning for Tuesday’s 80° readings by the weekend. While temperatures aren’t expected to drop below freezing again this season, the soggy, cold weather through at least part of Sunday will not bode well for weekend warriors and gardeners hoping to finally get to planting.
The good news to be found in all of this is the general lack of major severe weather in our state. In fact, it doesn’t appear we’d see another storm system bringing a severe weather potential until the very end of the month (at the earliest). This will likely break a record for the longest tornado drought in Oklahoma history. A late-arriving storm season doesn’t necessarily mean a lackluster one. However, we’ll have to be thankful for a chilly rain this weekend when the alternative could be a tornado outbreak this time of year.