The system coming our way from the Gulf of Mexico has been moving a little more slowly than initially thought, but it will certainly make its presence known for E OK later tonight and for much of the day Friday.
As you can see on the visible satellite image from mid-afternoon, the clouds were pretty well confined to the more E and SE counties. That has had an impact on temperatures as well, as you can see on the temperature map from mid-afternoon, courtesy of the OK Mesonet.
The cloudy skies kept the more E and SE counties generally in the 60s whereas the later arrival time of those clouds allowed other locations to make it back into the 70s again today.
This system will continue to move rather slowly, northward, spreading clouds and rain along with it for tonight and through the day Friday. As has been the case all along, the western extent of the rain shield continues to be an issue as the guidance has been waffling in that regard for the last 24 hours or so.
At any rate, the more eastern counties and on into Arkansas will have the most likely chance and will also receive the heaviest amounts where up to an inch may occur. Further west, the rain chances will drop off rather quickly as will the rainfall amounts.
Notice the 3 day QPF map, for example, which illustrates the sharp E-W gradient in rainfall; flooding may be an issue on into Arkansas.
The good news is that all indications continue to suggest this system will begin to move more quickly on eastward Friday night, so any lingering showers for the extreme E counties should have ended by early Saturday morning.
Skies will then be clearing during the day Saturday followed by lots of sunshine for Sunday and Monday.
Also, the northerly winds of Friday and Saturday will shift back to a more SW direction during the day Sunday and become rather gusty on Monday. Together with the sunshine, that will help temperatures soar, as you can see on our forecast page.
The next cold front is still on schedule to arrive by early Tuesday morning followed by brisk northerly winds and another cool-down. However, there is no really cold air anywhere nearby, so the cool-down will just be back to near or perhaps a bit below normal for much of next week.
Another chance of rain will also be spreading our way for Wednesday/Thursday time frame, but the data has not been very consistent regarding that particular system. So, am a little reluctant to beat the drum too loudly regarding our rain chances till we see better run to run and model to model consistency.
Same thing also applies going into that following weekend where, again, there are some indications of a more unsettled pattern developing, but will wait till we see better consistency before getting too excited about those prospects.
Keep in mind this is the time of year in which we can rapidly transition from a relatively stable pattern to a much more unsettled one as we head on into the spring storm season. No indications just yet that this is actually taking place, but something we will be keeping a close eye on in the days ahead.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.