Pretty nice day today, but one year ago it was a completely different story.  Click here for a complete recap of the events surrounding the Sand Springs tornado as well as a number of others that occurred that day, as compiled by the good folks at the local NWS office.

On a completely different note; the photo shows the start of and the eventual burn scar left by the massive wildfire in NW OK and SW KS of the last several days.  The image on the right still shows a small smoke plume but the fire has finally been controlled.  Total acreage impacted is estimated to be around 400,000 acres; absolutely incredible.

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After a cold start this morning, temperatures warmed nicely this afternoon as you can see on the max/min temperature map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. 

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The SE winds of today will continue through the overnight hours keeping us much milder to start the day on Saturday with morning lows generally in the 40s.  Clouds will also be increasing tonight and there will be at least a slight chance of some showers or light rain, primarily over the more northern counties as a system aloft moves rapidly on eastward. 

That will leave us with a dry Saturday despite mostly cloudy skies for much of the day.  Our winds will remain from the SE and there should be enough breaks in the clouds for our daytime highs to reach the upper 60s or lower 70s.  A stronger system will push a cold front through the state Saturday evening/night with brisk northerly winds all day Sunday.  Most of the rain with this system will be post-frontal which means our Easter Sunday will get off to a cloudy, cool start with a good chance of lingering light rain or showers.  Any threat of thunder will be confined to the far SE counties.  Temperatures will be in the 40s through the morning hours, but the system is expected to move quickly on eastward so any showers should be ending over the far eastern counties by around Noon followed by rapidly clearing skies.  Current data continues to suggest lots of afternoon sunshine for Easter Sunday so despite a brisk NW wind, temperatures should rebound back to near 60.

As you can see on our forecast page, Monday will get off to a clear, cold start followed by another quick rebound.  A return to southerly winds and lots of sunshine should push afternoon temperatures above normal once again.  In fact, above normal temperatures will persist right on through Wednesday but increasing southerly winds will also lead to enhanced fire danger.  Currently, Tuesday looks to be the day with the lowest humidity levels together with strong winds, very warm temperatures, and therefore the greatest fire danger risk.

Our next storm system will then be approaching for the Wed/Thu time frame and although the longer range guidance has some timing differences, the general consensus supports another cold front arriving sometime Wednesday night followed by northerly winds and another cool-down for Thu/Fri.  As that front approaches and moves through the state on Wednesday, there will also be a chance of showers and storms, some of which may turn out to be severe.  Again, too far into the future to be any more specific, but at this time of year any system such as this will require close attention.  As you can see on the 7day QPF map, the deeper moisture will be well east of us which is where the heavier rains are more likely to occur.

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Looking further down the road, the longer term climate drivers continue to suggest we can expect temperatures to average below normal heading on into the month of April as you can see on the 8-14 day outlook.  Also, the pattern suggests relatively quiet weather during that time frame.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot