Oklahoma just does not want to fully give up spring weather. Another bout of strong to severe storms is in the offing tonight. Several rounds of thunderstorms are likely leading to a heightened risk of flooding. However, it will not be long before summer fully emerges and heat index values soar above the century mark as well.
Starting with our severe weather threat, we expect a complex or two of storms to form late this afternoon across Kansas and the Panhandle region. These will quickly become severe, tapping into high levels of instability as they barrel east and southward this evening. Although the highest threat of tornadoes and hail will remain just west of our viewing area, high winds are likely as these storms form into organized squall lines after dark. Above is the risk area through tonight. Below are the individual ratings of threats we’ll face in Green Country.
These storms may arrive as early as sunset in southeast Kansas and sections of Osage County. There is some uncertainty whether or not those initial storms are the main event or if a secondary batch of storms takes over, arriving after midnight to our area. Essentially, multiple rounds of strong or severe storms may affect the area into the overnight hours. For Tulsa, it’s most likely we stay dry until close to midnight. Thereafter, storm chances are likely and wind gusts to 60mph are possible. Our wet soils will make it even easier for trees to topple. Below is a Futureview model of the expected squall line of storms around midnight.
Storms may continue to push through the area into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. These storms will eventually accelerate east of us by sunrise, but that severe threat could extend all the way to 5 am for far eastern and southeastern Oklahoma. As the timeline above shows, rain chances do not really drop much until just before dawn, even around Tulsa. By the time the rain ends, some places may receive upwards of 2” of water. That is more than enough in that timespan to cause flash flooding and even cause a few streams and rivers to rise. Below are projected rain totals through midweek.
Following the rain, comes the heat. A ridge of high pressure builds in late this week, sending hotter area into Oklahoma. The residual moisture from all of our rainfall will amp up the heat index. By Thursday, it may feel like the mid-90s. By Friday, that heat index could soar over 100° for much of the area (shown below). Fittingly, that is the summer solstice, our longest day of the year. It will also be our hottest day thus far as well. There was no doubt that when summer heat finally arrived, we would pay for our soaking wet spring. Unfortunately, those high humidity levels will not go away anytime soon.
However, the heat may wane a bit over the weekend as yet another round or two of storms is forecast. After a 3-4 day stretch of dry weather, we will be facing the threat for more heavy rainfall and potential severe weather. The timing over the weekend is certainly not the best for outdoor events, but it does appear the higher storm chances will come again in the overnight hours.
There are signs that beyond our weekend storms, that the summer heat quickly returns and may stick around through the end of the month. By then, our more typical summertime pattern may finally be taking hold. For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page!