Our nice weekend weather turned soggy Saturday night into Sunday. A slow-moving, but powerful storm system sitting to our southwest has sent several waves of heavy rain and storms into the area with at least one more round to go before it moves east. We are the lucky ones regarding this storm system. In the deeper moisture and greater instability in Louisiana, widespread severe weather has led to property damage and casualties with several tornadoes reported. Here on the cooler side of the system, we are getting exactly what we need – periods of steady, drought-denting rain.
So far, rain totals have been highest just west of Tulsa. Western Creek County up into Osage County has seen upwards of 5” of rain in the past week as you can see in the map above, valid as of 9:30pm Sunday. This has brought Skiatook Lake up over 3 feet in the past several days. Another foot rise in the lake level will put it at normal again. From the east side of Tulsa to almost the Arkansas line, however, rain totals have been light. These heavy batches of rain have only grazed these locations. We’re not done with the rain just yet though.
As the main upper level low passes overhead late tonight into Monday morning, a concentrated area of heavy rain and some storms will push right into northeast Oklahoma. This could bring another half inch to one inch of additional rainfall. This may lead to a wet start to our Monday, but by midday, all the rain should be clearing to our east with a little sunshine breaking out.
We’ll see just a quick lull before another potent storm system takes shape to our west. On Tuesday, an upper level wave will push into the Southern Plains and generate enough lift to form late day storms in our area. Since this storm is following so quick on the heels of our weekend one, there isn’t much time for moisture to return northward from the Gulf. Therefore, the lower moisture amounts in the atmosphere will be the main limiting factor on severe weather. However, the strong wind shear and forcing will compensate for that lack to some degree leading to the potential for high winds and maybe some larger hail Tuesday starting in the late afternoon through the evening. Green Country is in a broad-brushed very low risk for these severe threats. This could be raised, though, if this system (shown below valid Tuesday at 5pm) strengthens faster or we have a bit more instability and moisture in place after all. Stay tuned.
This storm system will continue to strengthen as it moves east of Oklahoma. While the greater severe threat will end up over the Deep South and even the Eastern Seaboard in the days to follow, it will generate stronger winds for us midweek, drawing in some pretty chilly air for a few days. On Wednesday, in fact, I doubt we’ll warm above the 50s. Temperatures could even dip to frosty levels by early Friday morning.
In the longer range, an active storm pattern will likely continue However, we should end up with a bigger gap between storm systems at the end of this week (thanks to that midweek storm system deepening and spinning its wheels to our east). The second full week of April may bring another strong cold front that may bring storms on the front end and a late-season cold blast behind it. While those details won’t be ironed out for days to come, it’s a sign that we are still in a volatile pattern through mid-month. The outlook through Easter Sunday in fact shows above normal rainfall anticipated. Best of all, this means further drought reduction is likely in the coming weeks. We are going to into our wettest time of the year after all.