Heat Prevails, But Some Relief in Sight

Tuesday, June 21st 2016, 2:49 pm
By: News On 6

We are only one day (officially) into summer, but it feels like we’ve already put in a solid month of the season. An unusually large and dominant area of high pressure has taken residence over the western 2/3rds of the United States, sending the temperatures soaring and keeping any relief at bay. This is a common pattern in July and August, but less so this early in the year. This is part of the reason record heat and wildfires are so rampant in the Desert Southwest right now, and why our sauna-like air mass came about like the flip of a switch after a relatively cool May.

                That high pressure or “heat dome” will very slowly get suppressed over the next week as a few stronger impulses in the jet stream dig into it. While we may not feel substantial relief right away, these storm systems centered well to our north could eventually send some rain our way. Through Thursday afternoon, the heat will continue to intensify.  Highs in the upper 90s with heat index values near or above 105° will be common in the afternoon hours.  It may not be or feel any hotter than earlier this month, but it will be dangerous heat nonetheless.  Moisture will pool a bit ahead of a frontal boundary that will stall near the area Thursday evening.  That will increase the heat index value and certainly make working outdoors without proper preparation very dangerous.

                That first frontal boundary won’t likely slide through our region, but storms that form along it could at least graze parts of Green Country Thursday night and Friday morning. The map below shows the higher chance of rain lies to the north. I wouldn’t hold your breath on this rain chance, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if a storm complex plunges into northeast Oklahoma with some gusty winds, heavy downpours and briefly cooler air.

                A hot, dry set-up is re-established as we head into the weekend. It’ll be a great time to be in the pool, by an area lake or indoors with a heat index still near 105°.  Sunday into Monday, another storm system will put a dent in that heat ridge and displace it a bit further west. We’ll be at the southern fringe of Northwesterly flow in the jet stream, which puts us in line to see a cold front and the heat relief that comes with it. There are many times that this signal in the computer model is a false alarm. The heat dome tends to win out. However, this has been a consistent enough signal, and it’s still early enough in the season that this wetter and possibly cooler pattern will come to fruition next week.  In fact, the 8 to 14 day outlook through the 4th of July is calling for a wetter than normal pattern. This is good news as we otherwise are facing a “flash drought” situation as the top layers of our ground quickly dry out in the heat and persistent sunshine.

                Be safe in the summer heat in the meantime!  Also, enjoy the 14.6 hours of daylight we receive at this time in the year! Before we know it, those days grow noticeably shorter. Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and my Facebook page for more weather updates!