What a day. Warm and windy once again with fire danger concerns for the more western counties and a severe storm threat that is still ongoing. As of this writing, some heavy rains have occurred primarily in the far E/SE counties as you can see on the 24 hour rainfall totals up to this point.
To say that we need a good rain is an understatement as the latest drought monitor has drought continuing to rear its ugly head across the state as the map shows. Scattered showers and potential storms will continue through the overnight hours as the main storm center moves across the state, but those rains will be rather spotty and will not do much to alleviate the ongoing drought situation.
The very warm temperatures that continued through the day today also do not help matters as we once again have been well above normal. Tulsa so far today has logged a max/min of 72/66 so a very short thermometer and if that 66 holds through the midnight hour it will be a new record for warmest overnight low on this date. Click here to see the normal and record values for this date and for that matter any previous date. However, much drier air is moving in from the west so we will more than likely be cooler than that by the midnight hour. That drier air shows up clearly on the OK Mesonet map as you can see with those very low dew point temperatures marking the dryline that is advancing across the state.
That dryline is also providing a focus for storm development but the available moisture is very limited so despite a very strong upper level storm system that is moving eastward across the state, it just does not have much to work with. The deeper moisture is well east of us where the heavier rains have occurred but the cold core upper air system that will be moving across the state tonight will still be capable of causing a few storms to develop. Because of the cold air aloft, there will be the potential for some hail during the overnight hours.
As that drier air moves eastward and our winds shift to a more NW direction tonight, temperatures will drop to near 50 by Saturday morning. A few lingering showers for the morning hours will quickly move on eastward so the rest of the day should be dry. But, a stratus cloud deck will likely persist all day and with a brisk NW wind, temperatures will hold in the 50s, topping out in the low-mid 60s for a daytime high.
Our skies will be clearing Saturday night and with the cooler, drier air in place and light winds, temperatures Sunday morning will start off in the low-mid 40s and possibly even a few upper 30s for the cooler valleys in far N/NE OK. Our next storm system is still anticipated to arrive Sunday night so look for clouds to be on the increase during the day Sunday. Also, our winds will be picking up from a more E to SE direction. We should still have enough sunshine for daytime highs to make it into the low-mid 70s though.
As the next storm system moves across the state Sunday night, it will spread showers and storms once again across the area. This system will also have the potential to produce a few severe storms and a few locations could pick up some decent rainfall with it as well. Again, the timing currently suggests these would be during the overnight hours and moving on eastward by Monday morning.
Monday and Tuesday now look to be between systems, but as you can see on our forecast page, there is another chance of showers and storms for the Wednesday/Thursday time frame. The most recent data runs now have this next system moving through a little more quickly and also further south and with greater intensity that what was evident with the data runs yesterday. Keep in mind, this system is currently well out in the Pacific so there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the timing/track/intensity as it comes our way. But, the recent data runs have been reasonably consistent so have upped the rain chances for Wed/Thu. In fact, this system has the potential to be a significant rainmaker for the entire state. Notice the 7 day QPF which is picking up a very wet signal. We certainly need the rain, but don't need to get it all at once.
Looking beyond that time frame, the 8-14 day trends continue to suggest a wetter than normal pattern going into early April along with a warmer than normal pattern. Bottom line is that the next two weeks look to have a very active weather pattern with systems coming at us every couple of days. Maybe, just maybe, we will end up with enough rain to put our drought situation behind us before thing really start heating up.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates, it could get interesting in the days/weeks ahead.