Since the first of the year, portions of NW OK have only received an inch or so of rain but much of the rest of the state is also getting dry.
As a result, drought is spreading across the state which is a stark contrast to 2015 which was the wettest year on record for OK and of course the record rains and flooding that occurred at the end of December.
That combination has also produced what has been a particularly bad fire season as the rains of last year were responsible for abundant vegetation but the dryness of this year is delaying the green-up; at least for the more western counties. Along with the dry start to the year we have also been much warmer than normal which usually means lower than usual humidity levels and of course those Spring-time winds have also been very strong; wind gusts of 40 mph or more have been far too common this year. All in all, not a good combination.
Tonight and Friday will at least provide some relief from the wind as high pressure settles over the state and our winds calm down. The light winds, clear skies, and dry air in place tonight will also give us a cool start to the day with morning lows in the upper 30s to low 40s first thing Friday morning. Light NW winds and abundant sunshine will push our daytime highs to near 70 which at least is close to normal for a change.
Unfortunately, southerly winds will be kicking back in and becoming gusty for Sat/Sun along with warmer temperatures to provide enhanced fire danger concerns. The good news is that this time there will be more moisture returning so humidity levels will be higher which will mitigate the fire danger somewhat. That will also result in more cloud cover and increasing chances of rain as the weekend progresses.
Right now, Saturday looks to only have a very slight chance of a few light showers, a little better chance on Sunday, but as you can see on our forecast page Monday looks to have the best chance. That will be due to a strong cool front that is expected to push through the state during the morning hours of Monday. If this boundary should be delayed then the activity would be more likely into the afternoon hours which would enhance our chances for severe. So far, the latest/greatest data runs have been consistently pushing the front through during the early morning hours which is not particularly favorable for severe weather. Even so, some locally heavy storms will certainly be possible and the rains should be fairly widespread.
Notice the 7 day QPF map which once again has the heavier totals well E of us, but is at least somewhat optimistic for even our western neighbors. Clearing skies and much cooler conditions will then prevail through the middle of next week.
After that, the longer range guidance continues to suggest enough of a pattern change aloft for a wetter than normal signal, particularly where it is needed the most and also a warmer than normal signal during the 8-14 day outlook period.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.