Hard to believe this is March given how warm and windy it was today. As you can see, maximum temperatures across the state were generally in the 80s. For Tulsa, the max/min has so far been 81/52. Click here to see the normal and record values for this date and for that matter any previous date.
The extremely warm conditions together with strong winds and humidity levels that dropped into the 20-30% range during the heat of the day have also produced another high fire danger situation. As you can see, those wind gusts today have routinely been in the 30-40+ range and although the winds will settle down somewhat tonight, they will still be strong and gusty. Southerly winds of 20-30 will be the general rule overnight and that will keep us from cooling much as temperatures to start the day on Friday will be in the 60s.
We will also have increasing cloud cover by morning and a chance of showers and perhaps some thunder by first thing in the morning. A line of storms forming far to the west will move this way overnight but is expected to fall apart near the I-35 corridor later tonight. Then, another round of showers/storms will reform by early morning and develop into another line of storms for the more eastern counties by afternoon. Those storms will quickly move on eastward and out of the state by evening so the timing looks like a scattering of showers/storms developing first thing in the morning and becoming better organized along and east of the hwy 69 area by afternoon. Given how strong the winds will be at the surface and aloft, there will be a threat of some severe storms with primarily a damaging wind threat. The instability still looks very limited until everything is much further eastward late in the day so this looks to be a marginal severe weather scenario for Friday.
Depending on your location, the morning showers/storms will have moved far enough eastward to allow a good bit of afternoon sunshine so after starting the day in the 60s, afternoon temperatures should reach the upper 70s to near 80. For the more eastern counties, the showers/storms will be primarily an afternoon event and the clouds and rain should hold afternoon temperatures in the lower 70s. Strong southerly winds will be the general rule no matter with wind speeds of 20-35 and another fire danger situation developing again for the western counties that afternoon.
The main upper level storm center will then be moving eastward over NE OK & SE KS and could set off some widely scattered showers/storms for the Friday night into the Saturday morning time frame. Some of those could drop some hail due to the colder air aloft.
That will be followed by a brisk NW wind and cooler conditions for Saturday. Despite a good bit of afternoon sunshine, the brisk NW winds should hold daytime highs in the 60s after starting the day in the lower 50s. Saturday night will then be on the cool side with temperatures Sunday morning starting off in the 40s, but a return to strong southerly winds during the day will push afternoon temperatures back into the upper 70s to near 80.
Clouds will be on the increase again later Sunday in advance of the next storm system coming our way. That system looks to be impacting our area primarily for the Sunday night time frame with another chance of showers/storms, some potentially severe. In fact, current indications suggest this may be a more significant severe threat as the winds will once again be very strong at the surface and aloft but the data runs are currently suggesting more instability for the system to work with.
As you can see on our forecast page, there is another chance of showers and storms along about the middle of next week so we have a series of storm systems coming our way. Notice the upper level wind map of the 500 mb level or about 18.000' above sea level valid for Saturday morning. I have labeled the series of systems as #1, #2, and #3. Obviously, #1 will be moving on eastward and away from us by the Saturday morning time frame, but #2 will be hot on its heels. Given that #2 is currently out in the Pacific and has not been sampled by our observational network, there is considerable uncertainty regarding its precise track, timing, and intensity. There is even more uncertainty regarding storm #3 with one of model suites bringing in widespread showers/storms on Wednesday and another set holding it off till Thursday. The consensus seems to support a slower movement so have kept just a slight chance of showers/storms for Wednesday and a better chance for Thursday, but keep in mind it may be several days before we have a better handle on the track/timing/intensity of that system.
The system on Friday looks to be a disappointment regarding rainfall totals, the system for Sunday night could drop some decent rains, and the system for the middle of the week has the potential to be a very wet system. At any rate, the 7 day QPF has been having lots of trouble getting a handle on projected rainfall amounts and continue to have most of E OK on the western fringe of the heavier amounts. At least, there is the potential for some decent rainfall over the next week.
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. This all adds up to a very Spring-like pattern over the next two weeks.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates, it could get interesting in the days/weeks ahead.