2016 has been off to a very dry start, but we’re about to make up for lost time. Heavy rains are already pouring into Green Country as a strong, slow-moving storm system comes our way. This first round may bring thunderstorms, a few of which could be severe. The bigger threat in the days to come is flooding, coming in stark contrast to our wildfires of the previous days.
A deep upper level low pressure system will be settling into Texas and northern Mexico for most of the week. That puts the fire hose from the Gulf of Mexico right up through the area now through the end of the week. The heaviest of the rains are likely to fall around the Arklatex region, but Green Country will have a good soaking. You can see our weather pattern set-up here on Tuesday. That low to our south will funnel up several waves of heavy rain and storms as it sits and spins its wheels. The first round of rain is here through Monday night. The second arrives during the day Tuesday. A third shifts northward from Texas into Wednesday, which may prove to be the heaviest batch of rain. Even beyond that, several more wrap-around bands of rain will keep the area wet and clouded-over until the low gets the boot northeastward this weekend.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be our wettest days. Tuesday comes with a limited severe thunderstorm threat, especially further south, closer to the upper-level energy with slightly more unstable air. You can see the Outlook map encompassing much of south-central Oklahoma.
A frontal boundary will seep southward midweek, adjusting our winds to the north, cooling our temperatures a bit and forcing that deeper moisture further south. That’s why, until then, the next few days offer the highest rain chances and totals.
Total rainfall in the area will range from a few inches to potentially over half a foot of water by week’s end. That’s enough to prompt flooding concerns in southeast Oklahoma, closer to that rainfall bulls eye. Tulsa may receive enough rain to double or even triple the amount of rain we’ve seen for all of 2016 until now in just the week ahead! There may be a short lull in the rain Wednesday afternoon into Thursday, but areas south of I-40 will very little break in the wet weather until the weekend. Our recent dry spell raises the threshold for flashing flooding a bit, but it will be a growing threat this week. In any case, we won’t likely see much beyond a fleeting ray of sunshine until the weekend.
Even after this multi-round storm system leaves our region this weekend, an active storm pattern is likely to continue into the week of Spring Break. The outlook for that week calls for above-normal precipitation. Hopefully it will come with a least a few glimpses of sunshine unlike this week.
Enjoy the rainfall! This should end the long-stretch of fire concerns. Since our vegetation is so far ahead of schedule I foresee a nice green-up following this wet stretch of weather. I’ll have more updates on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page!