Without a doubt, this has been a very quiet storm season so far for Green Country. We’ve yet to see a tornado in our immediate viewing area this year. It seems as though we jumped from winter in April to summer in May. So far, this is the warmest May in Tulsa on record. In fact, today (Monday) was the warmest average temperature for this date at 83°. In spite of this recent heat, the stormy pattern has yet to fully shift north of Oklahoma.
Starting tonight, storms become a threat for Green Country. The component lacking for widespread severe weather is stronger mid and upper level winds. Without a stronger jet stream, more organized and intense severe weather is unlikely. Despite that though, strong instability has developed, creating a volatile environment for storms that could produce locally damaging winds and spotty large hail. The highest risk as shown below will be northwest of Tulsa, closer to where storms are forming. They will weaken as they progress southeastward.
Tuesday and Wednesday’s storm chances remain relatively high. However, there is quite a bit of uncertainty on the timing and location of storms. A lot of it depends on where leftover boundaries from storms end up by Tuesday. They will be the focus for redevelopment in the day ahead. While upper-level support continues to remain weak through midweek, isolated severe storms remain a threat.
Rain totals are likely to vary quite a bit from location to location given the random scattering of storms expected this week, but some places will end up with the first good soaking in nearly two weeks! Locally 1” to 2” will be common among the heavier totals through Wednesday night.
By Thursday, the ridge in the jet stream becomes more pronounced, shifting the storm risk further north. Summer-like heat builds back late in the week with less cloud cover. This transition occurs just as Mayfest begins in Tulsa, an event notorious for heavy downpours throughout its span. Instead, the heat may be the big story. Highs in the 90s Friday and Saturday are likely with a heat index in the upper 90s each of those afternoons. Get ready to sweat if you’re outside to enjoy the weekend!
A low pressure system in the jet stream shifts eastward from the Southwest U.S. this weekend. However, its orientation may bring the front through Oklahoma before storms form. This would limit our severe weather threat. That frontal boundary will waffle around the area for a few days bringing an unsettled pattern well into next week. Below is the overall jet stream pattern by the weekend.
The bottom line is this: storms are likely through midweek and again late in the weekend into early next week. While there doesn’t appear to be a major severe weather outbreak on tap, the ingredients for at least sporadic storms to reach those limits are almost always on hand this time of year. It’s time to be weather aware. Finally, below is a shot of a brief tornado that occurred in southern Kansas Monday evening. While the parameters weren’t great for tornadoes, our storm tracker, Von Castor, found one anyway. And we still have a number of weeks left in severe weather season before a true summer pattern takes hold.