A good kind of drought is going on across the state of Oklahoma and it doesn't involve rain. The tornado count is near a record low with only 5 tornadoes reported since the beginning of the year. Only one of those has happened this month. See the first map for some tornado statistics. The week ahead continues this trend with little threat of severe weather, but this enhances our other main drought – the lack of rain in our historically wettest time of the year.
Both droughts go hand in hand. Moisture is a key component to tornado formation so it's no surprise many storms (especially to our west) have failed to produce tornadoes this season. Even our storm count is low. We've been in a weeklong pattern of cool northwesterly flow in the jet stream. Now, we are encountering a significant warm-up, but no storm system nearby to trigger storms. Still, the winds will be howling from the south and the sun will be baking the ground. This leads to a moderate to high fire danger for the next several days, even with a modest amount of moisture in the air.
This upper-level ridge will slowly erode as another upper-level low pressure system slugs its way out of the Desert Southwest by late this week. (See next map for that set-up) The focus for rain and storms will likely be just to our north and west, but a few thunderstorms could sneak into eastern Oklahoma starting on Friday. This storm system calls for an unsettled Memorial Day weekend, but it's not looking like a wash-out for us. With that storm system spinning its wheels out west, it may be a much-appreciated wash-out for the Panhandle regions. See the next map. Over 4" of rain may occur in the week to come, at least doubling the amount of rain that region has seen all year!
If you've got outdoor Memorial Day Weekend plans – there's no need to adjust them greatly yet. It's a low-end threat of showers and thunderstorms through Saturday, with more coverage of rain possible for the latter half of the holiday weekend. Severe weather can hardly ever be ruled out this time of year, however, this doesn't appear to be an outbreak set-up.
We'll keep you updated on that next storm system throughout the week, of course. Hang on to your hat and enjoy the warmth in the meantime! Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and like my page on Facebook!