Our quiet severe weather season is about to turn active starting as early as tonight. The ingredients for powerful storms have been merging over Oklahoma and all that is missing is a trigger. Are you and your family prepared for the threat?
An unusually long stormy stretch is expected as a frontal boundary waffles in and out of the area through Thursday. That front will be one of the primary areas these storms develop midweek. Tonight’s risk of storms is low even though the cold front will be sitting right over Tulsa for the night before lifting back northward. Convergent air along and over the north side of the front may fire showers and a few heavy storms that could produce hail into early Tuesday morning. If anything, it’ll be a bit wet and clammy for the night.
Tuesday is our biggest severe weather threat as the main upper-level impulse arrives. In the morning, expect off and on showers and a possible storm. By early afternoon, storms are likely to fire along that frontal boundary in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas and push eastward. Above is the general risk area. They could arrive as early as 3pm to areas west of Tulsa and as early as 5pm to the metro area. They will pose a risk for large hail and damaging winds. As the evening goes along, additional storm development is likely on the southern and western flank of this line. Other storms may fire on a dryline in southwest Oklahoma and make a run at Green Country Tuesday night. These 3 episodes of storms are expected to be severe and a few tornadoes are possible by late afternoon, especially on any storm that can remain isolated ahead of the cold front.
Wednesday is a wild card day. A general lull in the storms are expected Wednesday morning through early afternoon. Depending on what the storms do Tuesday night, they could leave behind outflow boundaries that fire storms up again that afternoon into the evening. Again, these storms could be severe. While the upper-level energy isn’t as strong, the parameters for severe weather are there, especially if we can get some clouds to break up and heat things up at the surface. One final impulse Wednesday night will send the cold front south into Thursday morning. More heavy downpours are likely, which will taper in intensity into the daytime hours. We can catch a breath from the active weather that afternoon. Below is the rain chance timeline.
The other major concern will be the amount of rain that falls. Some of the storms on Tuesday night may train (move over the same locations) for hours on end, creating flash flooding. It’s most likely north of Tulsa, but can’t ruled out anywhere that receives a prolonged downpour. A Flash Flood Watch is already up for the Tulsa area and points north through Wednesday. Below are projected amounts through midweek.
Unfortunately our window of dry weather is now closing in the forecast. We’ve had to add a chance of rain every single day until the middle of next week. The moisture doesn’t go far Thursday and returns as early as Friday. While severe weather may not immediately be a threat, we may not make through the weekend before we are facing more hail and wind concerns. In fact, our longer-range models are painting an increasingly volatile set-up into next week. As such, we’ve got a wetter than normal outlook into Mid-May, already our wettest time of the year.