This two-week cool spell has been an incredible mid-summer treat. For August so far, 2017 is the fifth coolest regarding our average high temperatures – the coolest in 20 years.  Alas, this streak is finally coming to an end. The building heat will be made more intolerable due to the abundant moisture in the air thanks to recent widespread rainfall. The map below shows just how much rain has fallen since the beginning of the month. Eufaula, for example, has seen nearly a foot of rainfall, much of which fell in the past two days.  Keep in mind, our area only averages about 3” for the entire month. This has certainly been an unusual August so far.

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                Moving forward, a warm front will usher in warmer readings in the days ahead with high temperatures at or above 90°. Thanks to humidity levels, those 90s will feel like the lower 100s each afternoon as you see below. However, the active weather pattern does not end. Small waves in the jet stream will continue to interact with that frontal boundary re-forming to our north. As it does so, several more rounds of rain and storms appear likely starting again Wednesday. This may be repeated again Thursday night and Friday night into those following mornings. Given the timing of these storms, they aren’t likely to have a major impact on us warming into the 90s each afternoon. However, any additional heavy rain on our saturated soils could cause flooding. In fact, as the map below shows, the next week may offer another couple inches of rain for northeast Oklahoma.

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                The big question on many a mind in this region: will the skies clear up to view the much-anticipated solar eclipse next Monday? The recent trends in our computer models are more promising. As an upper-level ridge in the jet stream strengthens over the Southern Plains starting this weekend, the storm track adjusts well to our north and east. While daily cumulus cloud development is likely, widespread areas of rain and storms are not. Our confidence is growing even though we are still a week away. Below is a computer model depiction of cloud cover with the track of the total eclipse super-imposed. For now, the timing of fast-moving storm systems in the jet stream seems to favor clearer skies to our north while it might cloud up closer to the mid-Mississippi river valley.  If you’re traveling to this path, stay closely tuned into the forecasts as you will not be thrilled to have cloudy skies spoil this rare and remarkable event.

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                Aside from local weather and the upcoming celestial event, the Tropics are heating up again. Tropical Storm Gert is spinning offshore of the East Coast. This will fortunately be a “fish storm,” remaining well out at sea. However, more waves will continue to slide over favorable waters of the Atlantic. There are lots of indications those could become named storms in the next week, taking a more southerly path into the Caribbean. It’s common to see the Tropics really flare up between now and Labor Day as we enter into the prime window of time for hurricane formation given the warm waters and favorable wind fields. Fortunately, nothing appears to directly threaten the U.S. shorelines for any of your end-of-summer beach vacations in the next week or more.

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