Summer Heat Settles In To Oklahoma

Monday, June 22nd 2015, 10:53 am
By: News On 6

As we entered the month a June, we turned a corner into a very summer-like pattern. Heat built beneath an area of high pressure as the jet stream shifted the stormy pattern north of the area.  Then came along Tropical Storm Bill, which made Oklahoma revisit the flooding issues from our second wettest May on record.  As floodwaters recede and water levels begin to drop again at area lakes, the heat is building again.

 Summer officially began on Sunday and our weather conditions are in sync with the new season in place.  High pressure is back to dominating our weather as each day brings mention of a less-than-comfortable heat index value.  The dry weather is welcome news as our ground is nearly incapable of holding more water.  With all of that moisture in the ground, in our plants, and in our air, we can't escape that stifling mugginess during the day. Keep in mind that 1980 also brought about record rainfall for much of June, but the rest of that summer brought hardly a drop of rain and the hottest season on record for Tulsa. This recent wet pattern doesn't necessarily dictate the rest of the summer.

While this early-season heat is nothing unusual, temperatures are running 5° to 10° above normal.  Highs in the 90s are expected area-wide through the end of the work week with heat index values near or above the century mark during peak heating between 1pm and 6pm. It's a great week to be at the pool, and a week to practice our heat precautions. The sun's rays are at their most direct angle at this time and sunburns can readily occur in less than half an hour on unprotected skin.  On top of that, the heat and humidity combo will dehydrate us in no time if we exert energy outdoors, especially midday into the afternoon. You may know the routine, but be sure not to take it lightly.

The warming trend continues into Tuesday as the ridge strengthens overhead. By Wednesday, a few more clouds may sneak into our sky with a weakness in that ridge.  An isolated shower or storm can't be ruled out that afternoon in far eastern Oklahoma.  Overall though, no major change in the weather pattern occurs until the weekend when a backdoor cold front attempts to push through the region. Cold fronts don't readily march through our state in late June, but even if it stalls in the area, additional clouds and potential rain will cool us down a bit, starting late Friday.

This means the end of June into early July will likely be a bit cooler than normal with more potential rainfall. We could do without the rain, but cooler temperatures are more than welcome! During this timeframe, our computer models are consistently showing the heat ridge shifting to the western U.S. while Oklahoma settles into a more active weather pattern again with the jet stream taking a dip closer to our region.  This *could* mean a higher than normal chance of rain over Independence Day weekend, but hopefully we'll just enjoy the cooler than normal weather out to that time.

Until then, stay cool, and stay smart in our summer pattern. Don't forget to keep an eye on your pets and give them shelter from the heat and sun as well.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook page.