From frost to fire danger, the first week in May will bring a wide range of weather conditions… except for much-needed rainfall. In just over a week however, that could even be added to the list as another stormy pattern develops. Here's the break-down.
While we need the rain, it sure is nice to have a break in the severe weather amidst the heart of the season. We had to deal with a quick-hitting EF-2 tornado that struck Quapaw and Baxter Springs, KS. Another brief EF-1 tornado was confirmed in LeFlore County as well. That same storm system is bringing yet another day of torrential rainfall and severe storms to the southeast U.S. while we are caught in the cool, breezy realm on the back-side of the powerful low pressure. "Breezy" doesn't do western Oklahoma justice as winds gusted to 60mph in the Panhandle yesterday. (See first map). That, combined with widespread blowing dust, made for miserable and even dangerous conditions. It also made for quite a fascinating scene – a dust rainbow! Frankly, I didn't know that could happen, but the folks at the Oklahoma Mesonet shared this image to us from Lindsey Ogden.
Anyway, as that low pressure system weakens and pulls further away, our winds will lighten, but the chilly air will remain a bit longer. Thursday morning even offers the threat for frost in parts of Oklahoma as the lower atmosphere "decouples" allowing the wind to go calm and the coldest, dense air to sink to the surface. Temperatures should remain above freezing in Tulsa, but people living outside of the city, especially north of town, may want to cover those tomato plants!
As the winds get lighter, the sky will get clearer and temperatures will begin to rebound. 60s for Thursday. 70s for Friday. 80s for Saturday. Lower 90s by early next week! We're essentially springing from early March temperatures to late June conditions in the span of a few days. The winds will pick up again this weekend – this time from the south. It will be transporting that much warmer air into our region. As we continue to dry out, it will also enhance the fire danger in Green Country. We've now averaged the 4th driest January-April time span on record, which is contributing to the unusually high fire threat this deep into spring. We won't welcome the potential for severe weather late next week, but we'll welcome the rainfall for sure.