Mike Grogan Weather Blog: Fires Danger Kicks off Spring Season


Monday, March 21st 2016, 3:17 pm
By: News On 6


Despite several cold nights where we revisited the freezing mark, Green Country is greening up.  It’s not happening fast enough, however, to reduce our fire danger all that much.  South winds are starting to howl in advance of a strong storm system that’ll arrive midweek.  Moisture return is delayed, therefore, dry, windy weather and a dry environment is providing us with that dangerous combination for wildfires.

                From the 20s in many places this morning to the lower 80s by midweek, our temperatures are on a wild swing.  This warming trend comes with winds gusting to 40mph by Tuesday afternoon.  As humidity levels drop to the 20% range, we’ll be enduring some critical fire weather.  Minus the wind, it’ll feel very pleasant.  Just be aware of the danger and never drive into smoke should you come across a fire.

                Moisture begins to increase by Wednesday, which may initially limit the fire danger. A dryline will set up to our west and provide a sharp line between warm, muggy weather and dangerously dry, windy conditions.  On Wednesday afternoon, that boundary shifts east into eastern Oklahoma. West of it, fire danger will be extremely high with winds once again gusting to 40mph. East of the dryline, spotty showers and storms may develop. 

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The chance of rain is low due to limited moisture and convergent winds at the surface, but any storms that do fire could become severe.  The map shows the highest threat for storms lying just east of the Tulsa area.  The rain is welcome. Clearly the severe part must be heeded should the storms fire in our area. The second map shows that the rain and storm coverage may be very limited, as indicated in this computer model.

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                Wednesday night marks another big change: colder air spills back into the area. By Thursday morning, we may be back in the 30s again!  What doesn’t change: the wind.  It’ll be strong yet again and fire danger may carry on into that day despite far cooler conditions.  Highs may stay in the 50s Thursday afternoon.

                Bigger question marks sit around Easter weekend. As much as we’d like a weekend void of rain and cold weather (to get those Easter egg hunts in and our Easter best uncovered by coats), it appears we may be in for more unsettled weather.  The details aren’t clear yet, but a cold front may arrive Saturday night and bring about a cold rain on into Easter Sunday.  It may not rain the entire day, but it looks like it’ll be chilly with quite a few clouds around.  For now, Saturday appears to be the better weather day of the weekend with warmer, drier conditions expected (for now).

                Enjoy the warm-up for the next few days, but absolutely avoid burning outdoors.  I’ll have more weather updates on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook page!