Stubborn clouds held our daytime temperatures down to levels typical of mid-November on Monday. However, this is a fleeting cool spell and once the sunshine returns on Tuesday, our temperatures will be spiking to above-normal levels yet again. This is the fall that is, so far, struggling to maintain its identity.
Oklahoma has been caught between two cut-off low pressure systems centered off of the southeast U.S. coastline and over the Desert Southwest. The system to our east brought historic and catastrophic flooding to South Carolina while the low to our west continues to pummel Arizona and Utah with flooding rains and even a marginal threat of severe weather. In between the systems, the weather is tranquil with high pressure in control. (See first map). The pattern will shift and allow the warmth to build over the Southern Plains through midweek ahead of a wave of low pressure in the northern stream of the jet stream. That wave will send a weak cold front to the area by Thursday evening, but it won’t draw down much colder air behind it. If anything, we’ll see a wind switch and seasonable temperatures return before they rise again early next week. Needless to say, we’re lucking out with awesome weather for the remainder of the Tulsa State Fair.
That cold front will bring a slight chance of showers and weak thunderstorms. However, we’re at the southern fringe of the wave of energy so the cold front will have less oomph here in Green Country. It’s about our only shot at rain for the next week and amounts will be scattered and generally light due to a lack of instability and low moisture levels. Yet again, it’s great news for fair-goers! However, it has been over two weeks since eastern Oklahoma had a widespread rainfall, and a short-term drought may slowly be returning to our region if a moisture-laden storm system doesn’t come along in the next few weeks.
Looking into the extended forecast, the warmer and drier trend is likely to continue. The 8 to 14 day outlooks show a little opportunity for rain as we head into mid-October and much above-normal temperatures (as shown in the second map) for us and much of the Lower 48. I wouldn’t be surprised if we actually top 90° next week and challenge record high temperatures next Monday into Tuesday. Those crisp, cool days of fall will come, but they aren’t showing up anytime soon. We keep scanning the long-range computer models for that first shot of cold air from the Arctic, but no consistent signs of it are showing up yet. So, don’t put away those summertime clothes, but keep the jacket handy for those couple of cool nights that still dot the forecast.