It is a much-needed stretch of dry weather across Oklahoma right now. A ridge of high pressure is giving us a taste of summer with temperatures near 90° on Wednesday afternoon. Mugginess is on the rise late into the week and severe storms lie just beyond that.
A large trough over the western U.S. is setting the stage for a series of super-charged storm systems to roll into the state starting this weekend. The first round of severe weather kicks off late Friday in the High Plains from the Panhandle region into Nebraska. What forms then will slide east could grow upscale into parts of Green Country Saturday morning. While these storms will have less energy to keep them intense, a heavy rain and isolated severe potential will accompany this activity. That round is increasingly likely as our computer models are homing in on that potential further.
That morning round might complicate our severe weather potential that afternoon and evening. We saw this scenario unfold just a week ago when morning rain stabilized the air so much that we could not get the proper heating and instability for the later-day round. For now, that threat is conditional. *If* either morning rain holds off or clears out quickly, daytime heating will prime the atmosphere for significant severe weather across the state with supercells forming on a dryline to our west and advancing into eastern Oklahoma by early evening. Tornadoes, high winds and tornadoes are all possible with those storms. It’s a classic May storm set-up.
Fortunately, the storm threat should come to an end by early Sunday morning, leaving us with at least half of a dry, beautiful, spring weekend. It won’t be a long reprieve from storms because another storm system barrels into the southern Plains on Monday, setting us up for more severe weather between Monday evening and Tuesday. It’s unclear whether we get two (or more) rounds of severe weather or just one main sweep of storms early next week. While rain chances begin during the day Monday, the severe weather threat ramps up that evening. This storm system is STRONG and could bring the tornado-hail-wind trifecta as early as Monday evening and most likely Tuesday. Below is our generalized timeline for that next round.
The longer that storm system sticks around, the worse it will be for our lakes and tributaries. Flooding is a major concern, especially early next week after our Saturday system further saturates our soil. Rainfall projections are heavy and could exceed 4” in parts of the area in the next week. Flash flooding could give way to further river and stream flooding. This will keep our lakes swollen and perhaps even worse than they are now. In fact, the heaviest rains look to fall across southern Kansas again, which will cause even more water to build up in the Arkansas River system. While Kaw and Keystone have been critically full, the water levels have been manageable so far. Let’s hope it stays that way!
We might get another few days of quiet weather midweek next week before another active stretch of weather might kick in close to Memorial Day weekend. We are at the heart of severe weather season and it doesn’t look like it’ll let up anytime soon. And you can count on increasingly muggy weather for the rest of May. It looks like it will remain quite warm with more moisture being added to the ground and air to boost that humidity. If we’re not sweating out the severe weather threat, we’ll simply be sweating it outside! Stay dry, cool and weather aware over the next week. For more weather updates, follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page.