May 20, 2013 vs May 3, 1999.

Tuesday, May 20th 2014, 6:00 pm
By: News On 6

Lots has already been said and written about the events of one year ago today; see the map on the right, courtesy of the good folks at NSSL for a detailed map of the Moore tornado. Of interest, at least to me, is the comparison with the events of May 3, 1999. Since there are lots of news stories on this web site (see Top Headlines for example) as well as all over social media regarding the events of one year ago, thought a refresher regarding the May 3, 1999 event would be of some interest. Here is a good link: again from the good folks at NSSL. Also, the second map on the right shows a close-up of the OKC area including the F-5 Moore tornado on that date. I am not aware of a real up close and personal map of the May 3 event that has the detail such as the one that was created for the last year's event, but obviously the tornado tracks were very close together. What strikes me is how much worse the May 3, 1999 event was in numbers(58 vs 24) for the OKC area. There are many other comparisons that could be made, but will let it go for now.

Of course, that was then and this is now and the only threatening weather we are currently dealing with is the dry, warm, windy conditions and the attendant fire danger. Notice the third map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, which shows the strongest winds so far today. Not as bad as yesterday but still too much wind given the warm, dry conditions. The fourth map on the right shows the high/low temperature so far today….triple digits in W OK and they also had relative humidity levels in the single digits during the heat of the day! UGH!!!

Unfortunately, above normal temperatures will stay with us right on through the weekend with daytime highs well into the 80s and overnight lows only dropping into the upper 60s. Fortunately, those strong southerly winds of the last few days will diminish somewhat and will not be quite as annoying as they were yesterday and today. Still, winds on the order of 15-25 mph are likely; just that the 35-40 mph gusts are much less likely.

Am still cautiously optimistic about some decent rainfall starting this weekend and continuing into next week, particularly for our more drought stricken western neighbors. A slow, moving but vigorous storm system aloft will be coming our way and as the 7 day QPF map on the right shows, has the potential to bring some generous rainfall totals. Our side of the state continues to be on the eastern fringe of the heavier rainfall amounts, but we will take what we can get. Right now, the latest and greatest long range guidance suggests Mon/Tue will have the best chance for our side of the state although a few isolated showers/storms cannot be ruled on Sat/Sun as well. Given the time of year, cannot rule out a few severe storms as well.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot