It finally happened; triple digits officially recorded in Tulsa for the first time this year. Notice the max/min temperature map for today which has triple digits just about everywhere except the NE corner of the state. Interesting that the outlying areas around Tulsa were not quite as hot which demonstrates the impact of the urban heat island. Exception to that has been the more southern counties which as shown yesterday have been much drier over the last month or so and therefore have been hotter.
Of course, it is not just the heat, it is also the humidity and the combination of heat and humidity pushed the heat index into dangerous territory as you can see on the next map. Those higher heat index values over the more NE counties are due to a weak boundary that has been hanging out over far N OK for several days now. Higher dew point air has been pooled near that boundary as you can see on the dew point map for late this afternoon. Those dew point temperatures into the upper 70s are fairly uncommon around here but that certainly contributes to the dangerous heat index values experienced today.
Little change in the heat is expected through the weekend with most locations well into the 90s if not lower triple digits again for Saturday and Sunday. The only encouraging word is that the weak boundary referenced above should finally wash out allowing for somewhat stronger southerly winds of 8-15 mph. I know, for OK that is not much wind but that should be enough to mix out those dew points into the lower 70s over the course of the next few days. That, in turn, should hold the heat index at least a few degrees below the oppressive levels experienced today.
Better yet, the longer range guidance continues to suggest a frontal boundary will be arriving during the day Monday to provide some relief from the heat and humidity for the rest of next week. The strength of the capping inversion aloft will likely keep any shower activity to a minimum as the front moves across the state, but it will be followed by a pronounced NE wind bringing milder, drier air back over us.
As you can see on our forecast page, that will result in temperatures dropping to at or below normal levels for the rest of next week along with lower levels of humidity making outdoor conditions much more pleasant. The only negative is the lack of much if any rainfall in the days ahead. Notice the 7 day QPF map for example which pretty much keeps us high and dry.
That may well extend beyond the coming week also as the 6-10 day outlook map keeps us basically dry through that time frame. Can’t complain too much though as we have certainly had plenty of moisture so far this summer.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.