By this point in the summer, stifling heat with triple-digit heat index values is nothing new. It’s also nothing to shrug off if you’re spending time outside. A Heat Advisory is in place again today as it may feel as hot as 105° to 110°. It’s the quintessential summertime pattern in place where a high pressure ridge sits over the Southern Plains, allowing the heat to build as storms slide around its periphery. That set-up, however, will be replaced by a more unsettled and hopefully cooler pattern in the near future.
The next few days will be as hot as it’s been all year. Temperatures will close in on the century mark for highs in Green Country with enough moisture still in the air to greatly impact how hot it actually feels. Heat index values have been telling our story this summer as actual temperatures have yet to hit 100° in Tulsa this year. When we’ve had as much rain as we’ve had, temperature swings are less and it is a struggle to get above the 90s. By this point in the summer, we average 4 days at or above 100°. Each summer is quite different, however, and it’s not unheard of to go an entire summer void of triple-digit heat. Nearly all of those 100°-less summers have one thing in common - they are wetter than normal. We could hit 100° early this week, but if we don’t, it’ll be the first July since the very wet July of 2007 that we never hit that mark. If you count how hot it actually feels outside, our seemingly “cool” summer appears far less so.
A legitimate cool-down is still set to arrive midweek as a potent storm system well to our north sends a cold front beneath the ridge of high pressure in the upper levels to bring a refreshing air mass our way. Calling it a cold front may be a stretch. (Perhaps a “less hot front” should become a name for these boundaries in mid-summer) In any case, a north wind, added clouds and maybe a little rain will bring highs down into the upper 80s and lower 90s for the area, likely starting on Thursday. Unlike the past couple of fronts, this one won’t stall out for days and provide deluge after deluge. The ridging aloft will still be strong and suppress more widespread storm development.
That ridging is forecast to re-center over the western U.S. by the start of August and take the focal point of that heat away from us. While it’ll still be muggy, triple-digit temperatures may once again not be reached anytime soon if we can avoid it through midweek. 6 to 10 days out, the pattern will likely support cooler than normal temperatures across the Midwest. This might translate to seasonable to slightly cooler temperatures here in Oklahoma as we head into climatologically, the hottest week or two of the year.
Stay cool, stay hydrated, and enjoy summer as we typically know it in Oklahoma for now. Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and find me on my Facebook Page for updates on the heat relief coming our way!