Big Rains, Big Wind and a Big Change for Spring Break
We’ve seen quite the variety of weekend weather from noisy storms to powerful winds and spring-like warmth to raw, wintry readings. Our active weather pattern continues into the week ahead with a bigger change on the horizon.
The first of many rounds of rain are impacting parts of Green Country now. A classic Southwesterly flow in the jet stream over the next few days will pump the region full of Gulf moisture and send a number of waves to trigger the rain and some storms. Through Sunday night, only light rainfall is expected, most of it south of Tulsa. Our Monday may begin with some damp conditions, but a lull in the rain is expected during much of the day. By Monday night, it gets wet again for nearly all of us.
As the timeline above shows, much of the day Tuesday will be soggy. Batches of rain will pass through Green Country, getting heavier with time. Despite the nuisance of it, we’ll be in good shape. The rain won’t likely be heavy enough to cause major flooding in Green Country. It’s too warm for wintry weather, but overall looking too stable for severe storms. The one exception may come late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, mainly southwest of the viewing area. Storms will fire along a dry-line in west Texas and spread eastward that night into Wednesday morning, packing with it torrential rainfall and possibly some strong winds. Flash flooding might be the biggest concern on Wednesday before the system clears the area. Below is an idea of how much rain may fall between now and midweek. This will likely propel us into the top 20 wettest starts to a year on record for Tulsa.
After the rain comes the wind. It may be déjà vu after Saturday’s early morning storms followed by a day of howling gusts up to and over 50 mph. The same could occur with the center of this storm system of similar strength passing just to our north. Even with a good soaking, the top layer of dormant vegetation could quickly dry out and be apt fuel for flames. It’ll be a wind-whipped Wednesday for sure with those projected gusts shown below.
It’ll take a few days before the wind really settles down, but we’ll be heading into an extended stretch of dry, colder weather. We’ve had a conveyer belt of storm systems thanks to the southern branch of the jet stream. The polar jet, though not overly strong, will take the active storm track east of us and a benign Northwesterly flow pattern will keep those big storms at bay. That means Spring Break will be chilly but offer us a nice chance to dry out. We’ll be back below freezing at night with high temperatures running at or below normal during the day despite lots of sunshine. Below is the jet stream pattern and temperature outlook for Spring Break week.
It’s too early to say winter is fully behind us, but that window of opportunity for snow is fast closing. There are no imminent shots of Arctic air combined with moisture to give us that snow potential in the foreseeable future. Assuming we don’t end up with a surprise April snow like last year, we’ll end winter with yet another paltry seasonal snow total of just 3”. As we make this shift, it’s also clear that severe storm season is just around the corner. Recent tornado outbreaks just to our southeast are often a precursor to an active spring season.