Ozone Alert Thursday As Temps Rise Across Eastern Oklahoma

Thursday, May 17th 2018, 3:57 am
By: Alan Crone

It’s a quiet morning across northeast Oklahoma with mostly clear sky and light winds.  The valleys and locations that received rainfall yesterday will have some patchy fog this morning for a few hours along with a thick morning dew. 

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Ozone Alert for Thursday, for the Tulsa area.

We ‘ll see more sunshine today compared to the previous few days along with highs in the upper 80s.  A few small showers or isolated thunder may develop across extreme eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas this afternoon but the chance will remain in the isolated category.  Later tonight into Friday morning another storm complex may brush the area before exiting during the early morning hours, yet this chance appears lower this morning compared to data yesterday morning.  A few lingering storms may take a run at northeast Oklahoma pre-dawn Saturday before our next front moves near the region late Saturday night into Sunday morning.  Temps will continue to climb with both today and tomorrow with highs by Friday afternoon nearing the upper 80s or lower 90s along with increasing temperature heat index values.  

WARN Interactive Radar

A weak mid-level ridge of high pressure will begin nudging its way into north central TX and part of far southern OK later today into the evening hours.  The top side of the ridge will still allow a northwest flow from Colorado into the state Friday morning that may become active with a leftover MCS driving down the pattern.  Just like the last few days, the guidance is all over the place regarding the exact trajectory for this possibility.   As the weak ridging flattens and slides east-southeast, the main upper level trough across the western U.S. will move east and northeast while once again weakening.  This will still bring storms this afternoon and evening across the high plains of Texas and points northward along the front range.  The medium range data suggests that most of the leftovers will miss northeastern OK Friday morning.  But the EURO still holds out the possibility of a small complex brushing the area early Friday morning.  Our probability will remain low. 

Friday afternoon additional storms are likely to our west and northwest across part of the eastern Colorado region into western Kansas where lift and moisture will be maxed.  Some of these leftovers may impact our northeast Oklahoma counties pre-dawn Saturday as they weaken.  Finally, late Saturday night into Sunday as the main upper level low ejects into the central to northern plains a surface front will move southeast with a chance for some storms late Saturday night into Sunday morning.   The forcing will be leaving the region about the same time the front nears the I-44 corridor.  The GFS stalls this boundary slightly to out northwest while the EURO brings it southward past most of our areas Sunday morning.  Regardless, we’ll be keeping a mention for storms during this late Saturday night and Sunday morning.  it appears our unsettled pattern may continue right into next week with another messy pattern as a minor southwest flow develops with a weakening trough across the western U.S and abundant mid-May low level moisture across Eastern OK.

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The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued an ozone alert for Thursday, for the Tulsa metropolitan area.

An ozone alert means that conditions are favorable for the buildup of ozone near the ground, to an unhealthy level. When winds are light, the vapors from fuels such as gasoline, exhaust from engines, and air pollutants from industrial activities remain trapped near the ground. If sunshine is abundant when these air pollutants build up, a chemical process is triggered that results in the development of ozone near the ground during the afternoon and evening hours.

While ozone in the upper levels of the atmosphere is beneficial in screening the suns radiation, it is harmful near the ground. Ozone can bother those with respiratory problems and can damage vegetation. A few simple measures can be taken to help keep the ozone levels from becoming unhealthy.

During ozone alert days:

Postpone any unnecessary driving and car pool if possible.

If you do drive to work, turn the air conditioner in your car off during your morning commute. You can also cut down on extra driving by bringing your lunch to work.

If you must refuel your vehicle, do it in the evening after the sun goes down or postpone your fueling to another day.

Postpone running the lawn mower and gas trimmer, the exhaust from these small engines contributes a significant amount of pollution to the air. Industrial facilities should reduce pollution emissions as much as possible on ozone alert days.

These preventative measures, performed throughout the Tulsa metro area, can have a tremendous effect in reducing the pollutants that contribute to ozone problems. 

Thanks for reading the Thursday morning weather discussion and blog.