Good Chance Storms, Then Here Comes the Heat.


Wednesday, July 13th 2016, 8:10 pm
By: News On 6


As I write, showers/storms are trying to get started in SE KS with the potential for further development into NW/NC OK over the next few hours.  As a result, there is a conditional chance for some early night time showers/storms dropping this way and some of those could be severe with primarily a wind/hail threat.  The morning showers/thunder that occurred earlier today did not drop much in the way of rainfall, nor did the clouds help much with regard to the heat and humidity this afternoon.  Notice the rainfall map across the state for today, courtesy of the OK Mesonet.

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Now notice the max/min temperature map across the state and the triple digits for the western half of the state are very evident.  Fortunately, there is some short term relief in sight due to the chance of showers/storms tonight, more cloud cover for much of the day Thursday which will hold temperatures down somewhat, and an even better chance of showers/storms for late Thursday through the overnight hours.  In fact, as you can see on our forecast page, mostly cloudy skies and the chance of some lingering showers should also hold temperatures down through the day Friday.

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We will have one more chance of showers/storms late Friday and that night ending Saturday morning and after that our rain chances drop off into the slim to none category going through next week.  Hopefully, we will pick up some decent rainfall amounts over the next few days.  As you can see on the 3 day QPF map, the potential is there for several inches of rain, but that does not mean that everyone will receive that much.  As mentioned before, this represents an areal average and some locations could receive much more while nearby locations receive little or none.

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The key to all this is the way the wind flow aloft is changing from a more zonal or W-E pattern to a more amplified pattern with a ridge of high pressure settling over the state.  Notice how the wind flow at 18,000’ or 500 mb changes from this afternoon to this coming Tuesday morning.  There is a very flat ridge aloft located well south of OK with the westerly flow as noted by the stronger winds at that level primarily just north of us into KS.  That is one of the reasons why there have repeated rounds of showers/storms/severe weather further north and we have been on the southern fringe of that activity.  That upper level flow will become briefly more favorable for us to get a good shot at showers/storms over the next 36-72 hours as mentioned, but then the pattern changes. 

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The second map, valid this coming Tuesday morning, shows a large and very imposing ridge of high pressure over the state and that is a summer time pattern that typically produces our hottest and most stifling conditions.  The only thing that would keep us from having widespread triple digit temperatures by this time next week will be the extent and amount of rainfall we receive over the next few days.  The wetter the soils and the more verdant the vegetation, the better the sun’s heat is absorbed by evaporation and evapotranspiration.  Drier conditions are more favorable for more of the sun’s heat to heat the ground which then heats the air resulting in our hottest temperatures.

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Unfortunately, that building ridge aloft will likely be a rather dominant feature going into the following week as well.  The 8-14 day outlook has a strong signal suggesting above normal temperatures and along with that comes below normal precipitation.  Sure hope we catch a good rain over the next few days as it looks rather dismal after that. 

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot