It has been another relatively cool day today as you can see on the max/min temperature map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. In fact, our daytime highs are running about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year as normally we would be in the low-mid 70s.
Except for a few light showers, we have been mostly dry today but a look back at the last 30 days shows some decent rains have occurred, particularly for some of the more western counties which is where it is needed the most. Notice the 30-day rainfall map and then compare that with the updated drought monitor which was released today. As you can see, these recent rains have helped the drought situation considerably, particularly here in Eastern OK. But, keep in mind that drought is a process that takes time to develop and time to recede.
See the county-by-county drought data for April 21
Speaking of the drought and the time frame, notice the map showing the departure from normal rainfall since October 2010 which is considered to be the start of this current drought cycle. As you can see, some parts of the state are as much as 4 feet behind on moisture over that time period.
Another chance of showers and storms is expected for later tonight and again later Friday and Friday night. A frontal boundary along the Red River will be moving northward as a warm front so we will have overcast skies tonight and to start the day Friday. The low-level jet is expected to develop overnight and over the warm front as it moves northward tonight. That combination will produce possible showers for the late night hours and also the potential for some storms, a few of which may be severe with a marginal hail threat.
That activity will be moving on NE by morning leaving us for the most part dry for the rest of the day until another potential round of storms develops late in the day. Those will have the best chance of becoming severe as we will have strong southerly winds during the day, much warmer temperatures, and a dry line moving into the central portions of the state. There remains considerable uncertainty though regarding the location and areal coverage of any storms which form. Clouds for most of the day will limit the instability somewhat although the dynamics look impressive. Also, conditions appear to favor a more widespread area of showers/storms forming in NE TX or far SE OK which would inhibit showers/storms further north. Bottom line is to keep a close eye on the sky and on the forecast for Friday as this will be a very dynamic situation and conditions could change rapidly.
Any storms which do form would be quickly moving on NE leaving us with a promising weekend. Lots of sunshine on Saturday and a westerly wind should push temperatures into the 80s. A weak, dry front will arrive that night with a more NE wind and somewhat cooler conditions for Sunday.
Then, another storm system will be approaching for the first part of the week and will bring with it the potential for another round of showers/storms, some of which may be severe. Right now, the target zone for that activity looks to be further south into TX or far SE OK, but that is certainly subject to change.
As you can see on our forecast page, after a very warm weekend temperatures will be generally below normal well into the following work week.
So stay tuned and check back for updates.