Drought-Denting Rainfall This Week
So far this year, Tulsa has seen a measly .77” of rainfall. More than half of that fell early Saturday morning. We are looking to quadruple that amount of rainfall in the week to come. Are you ready for a week of clouds, rain, wind and a dash of winter? The next 7 days have it all.
Light drizzle and showers are breaking out here on our Sunday evening, a pre-cursor to the fire hose of moisture that will drench Green Country. That “fire hose” is a stream of Gulf moisture at the surface and Pacific moisture aloft, intersecting over us. This is all thanks to a big change in the jet stream pattern that now sends moisture-laden storm systems our way. We’ll call it a conveyer belt of energy to trigger all of the rain we’ll see in the coming week.
The first wave of heavier rains arrives pre-dawn Monday. Elevated thunderstorms with heavy downpours are likely to douse the roads for our morning commute. In the wake of this first round, we’ll see light to moderate showers from midday into Monday evening, keeping us in a perpetually damp state all day. Even so, temperatures will likely top 70° in many locations. If any sunshine was to break through the dense overcast, it would feel downright muggy.
The spring-like weather continues into Tuesday as a cold front enters from the northwest. This will be a big focus for heavy rain and storms into that day. Despite the severe drought in eastern Oklahoma, this amount of rain could lead to some short-term flooding, especially east of Tulsa where heavy and training rainfall appears most likely. Once the cold front passes, expect temperatures to abruptly drop from the 60s into the 40s and below freezing that night.
That sets the stage for the wintry portion of our week. Another wave of energy in that conveyer belt will override that shallow, cold air by Wednesday triggering light freezing rain or sleet, most likely in areas along and north of I-44. This is a lower chance, but poses a hazard for travelers depending on exactly where that freezing line sets up and how heavy the precipitation may be. Neither of those details are nailed down so stay aware of this threat. Below is an outline of the wintry precipitation possibility as we see it right now.
You’d think we’d then catch a break and a few sun rays to follow, right? Nope! Another series of fast-moving waves will overspread us with rainfall starting late Thursday and lasting possibly into next weekend. Finally, a more substantial clearing trend is noted in about a week. Until then, you can pack away the shades and keep the umbrella on hand.
This weather pattern is a godsend for our parched ground. A half inch here and there is just not going to cut it. To meaningfully reduce our drought, we need a week like what lies ahead, leading to run-off. Rain totals will likely average 2” to 4” with locally 6” possible when this active stretch wraps up. There are indications this wet pattern could last into early March. The one thing I don’t see is any deeper cold air mixing with all of this moisture to provide us with snow. Aside from a possibly wintry Wednesday, we’ll just have liquid coming down from the sky.