It was bound to happen eventually – the dreaded heat dome building over the Southern Plains. Its onset has been delayed by the slow passage of Barry’s remnants to our east. Several days of Tropically-induced cloud cover and light showers led to the coolest air in 3 weeks on our Monday. From here, the mercury is set to soar.
Over the past few days, we found ourselves on the “dry” side of Barry. Although the circulation got within about 100 miles of Tulsa, very little rain fell in our area. As the map above shows, the bulk of the rain fell on the eastern and southern flanks of the system. Drier air filtered over Green Country from the north around the circulation, drastically limiting our rainfall.
As the remnants of Barry lift northeast, a high pressure ridge builds in. Even Monday, we had a big range of temperatures across Oklahoma. Highs in our area were as cool as the 70s while the Panhandle had triple-digit readings. That’s a precursor to the week ahead.
South winds will return Tuesday, bringing back the higher moisture levels and the heat. We’ll go from 80° heat Monday to a heat index of 105° by Tuesday afternoon. On top of that, very light winds on Tuesday will make it feel oppressively stuffy for anyone outdoors for long stretches. Air quality may also diminish in the day ahead around Tulsa as a result.
The forecast for midweek into the weekend will sound like a broken record. Morning lows just below 80° with south winds cranking up in the day to offer a bit of relief from highs near the century mark and heat index values topping 105°. Above is the reasoning for the heat. Below is the resultant heat index day-to-day through Sunday. This high pressure ridge, common from mid-July through August, will cut off any chance for rain in our area. In fact, daily cloud cover will be at a minimum allowing for maximum daily heating.
This type of heat is serious and must not be underplayed even though it will be a daily reoccurrence. Heat is the biggest weather-related killer and the elderly are often most vulnerable. Be sure to find ways to stay cool and make sure your friends and family can do the same. Limit the time your pets spend outdoors during the day for their protection as well. The Dog Days of summer are truly here. In fact, we are now within the window of time when triple-digit heat is most common as shown below. Our super wet year so far has made it nearly impossible to get that hot. As we slowly dry out this week beneath the heat dome, we might actually make that mark.
Today’s set of computer model runs do offer a little relief by early next week. The ridge of high pressure may shift just far enough west to give a cold front a run at Oklahoma from the north. This could slide our daily highs closer to 90° for a few days. Into the end of the month, near-normal heat might be on tap for our region. However, I never hold my breath for a cold front that far out. So often, the high pressure ridge holds as the cold front loses steam to our north. Needless to say, we are entering the hot zone.