What a day!
If you carefully look at the max/min temperature map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, you will see in some instances a 50 degree temperature change from the frosty start this morning to the near record setting temperatures this afternoon. In fact, Tulsa officially made it to 71 which ties the record for this date first set back in 1911.
Sunny skies and light winds primarily from a westerly component contributed to the big time warm-up we enjoyed this afternoon.
Lots of sunshine and light southerly winds for Tuesday will ensure another very pleasant day for late January. In fact, morning temperatures will be much milder to start the day with morning lows generally running 10 degrees or more warmer than we were this morning.
Given the warmer start, lots of sunshine, but a more southerly wind, afternoon temperatures should be back into the low 70s but below the record mark of 74 for Tuesday.
One might think given the warmer start and how much we warmed up today that we would easily break the record tomorrow, but a westerly wind is actually more of a warmer wind for us than a southerly wind is. The reason is that a westerly wind is a downslope wind as the wind is coming off the high plains and that produces some compressional warming.
At any rate, look for another fantastic day for Tuesday as those S to SE winds will be very light at less than 10 mph.
On the other hand, Wednesday will also be sunny and even milder to start the day with morning lows in the 40s. But, the record for daytime highs on Wednesday is 82 and although we should reach the mid-upper 70s it does not appear likely we will threaten the record.
However, there will be another concern on Wednesday and that will be gusty southerly winds up to 25 or 30 mph or more. The warm, windy conditions together with humidity levels dropping to around 30% during the afternoon will result in a very high fire danger situation.
By Thursday, our winds will be shifting back to northerly as a dry cold front moves across the state bringing a return to at or below normal temperatures. Keep in mind, our normal daytime high at this time of year is near 50 and we should be close to that on Thursday along with gusty northerly winds creating another hazardous fire danger situation.
Clouds will be moving back in Friday and the weekend looks to be cold and dreary; quite a contrast to the last two weekends. In fact, the longer range guidance is finally converging on a cold, wet day on Saturday with potentially some wintry weather as the system moves out early Sunday.
At this time range, there remains some uncertainty regarding the temperature profile aloft and also at the surface. But, the guidance is now suggesting a brisk southerly wind and temperatures which should be above freezing when the rain starts Saturday morning. It also looks like a real short thermometer on Saturday with rain off and on all day and into the night but at least staying above freezing.
Sunday will be colder yet and there remains some potential for a window of opportunity for a brief changeover to a wintry mix as the system moves out that morning. However, any amounts would be very light and therefore not expected to produce any widespread problems.
Keep in mind, this is certainly subject to change as additional data runs become available, but the latest/greatest trends do not currently suggest any significant wintry accumulations.
Notice the 7 day QPF map which one again has the heavier amounts well south of us. Even so, the way Saturday is shaping up the rain should be widespread although on the light side making for a cold dreary day and any wrap-around precipitation on the back side for early Sunday would be very light as well.
Daytime temperatures for Sat, Sun, Mon will be well below normal with highs generally in the 40s.
In other words, January will end on a chilly note and February will be getting off to a chilly start as well. But, as you can see from the 8-14 day trends, that first full week in February should see a nice rebound in temperatures and little or no mention of precipitation.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.