Storms East Of Tulsa, Fire Danger To The West

Friday, March 24th 2017, 4:22 am
By: Alan Crone

We're tracking the chance for a few thunderstorms this morning as a dry line and upper level system rapidly approaches the region.   A few strong to severe storms may occur but the overall threat appears low near the metro and slightly better for extreme southeastern and east-central Oklahoma.  

WARN Interactive Radar

Very windy conditions are also likely today with locations west of the metro in a high fire danger spread.  The progressive nature of the system will also decrease the precipitation potential and consequently, we have also lowered the actual chances for precip for the metro region.   We started lowering this chance yesterday and will stick with a 40-percent to near 50-percent chance this morning for Tulsa with higher chances ( likely) to the east.  

The model point soundings indicate a very shallow moisture content yet the approach of the upper level system should create a highly sheared environment.  This is a typical early spring storm set up.  This pattern typically produces some wind damage in a few of the stronger cells.  The lack of decent low level moisture may also limit the hail production.   The wind profile is basically parallel to the boundary and typically produces a line of thunderstorm activity during the mature stage of the system.   This will more than likely not happen until later this morning to early afternoon across far eastern Oklahoma and southeastern Oklahoma.   The time line for a few scattered storms  will begin from 8 am to near 11 am for the metro,  and then into eastern Oklahoma from 10 am to approx 2-3 pm.   The upper level system (cold core aloft) will swing across far NE Oklahoma and SE Kansas later this afternoon and may destabilize the atmosphere enough for a few scattered storms.   These low topped cells may briefly rotate and produce some marginally severe hail along with a few reports of downpours.  This period would be approximately 4 pm to 3 am.

Weather Alerts

As the dry line will rapidly move eastward today, this sets up an interesting scenario for locations along and southwest of the metro for the afternoon where much lower humidity ( lower dew points) will quickly move into these areas.   Strong southwest winds at 30 to 40 mph will more than likely be in place creating a very high fire danger spread.   So even though we have a chance for a few storms this morning near and west of the metro, the higher danger this afternoon will transition to a high fire spread conditions to the west or southwest of the metro, where a Fire weather watch could be converted to Red Flag Warnings.

Tomorrow morning, pre-dawn, a few showers may still linger across far northeastern Oklahoma or southeastern Kansas, but will quickly move east.   Temperatures will start in the lower 50's and end in the upper 60's along with northwest winds around 10 to 15 mph.   Sunday also appears mostly pleasant for most of the day with highs in the upper 70's near 80 along with sunshine and gusty southeast winds.

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Sunday afternoon and evening, the next strong upper level system will quickly develop and move across the central plains.   A surface low will rapidly develop across northwestern OK and move eastward Sunday night.  Low level moisture, in the form of higher dew point temps, will move northwest, effectively creating a warm-front.   The positioning of these features combined with the approaching upper level moisture may become a severe storms system capable of producing some tornadic storms.   The southeast winds backing into the surface low combined with the warm front will create an effective boundary that storm updrafts could become rooted.   If so, these types of patterns can support super cells capable of large hail and tornadoes.   The big question will remain the level and quality of the moisture return.   Most data does bring the moisture back into south central OK by Sunday evening, but it may end up slightly southward, across north Texas and the Texoma valley region.   We still have a few days to work on this issue.   And just like today's system, data will change some in the next few days.   But at this point, we’ll need to keep the mention of severe storms in the forecast.  

We'll be in between systems after Monday morning through at least Tuesday night or even Wednesday before the next system nears either Wednesday or Thursday.  

Thanks for reading the Friday Morning weather discussion and blog.

Alan Crone