We are nearing the heart of severe weather season and after a very slow start, the threat is finally ramping up. Portions of the southern Plains into the Deep South are likely to see several days of dangerous weather, including the threat for tornadoes. For eastern Oklahoma, our prime threat goes from the late hours on Saturday until early evening on Sunday.
What we do know: A powerful storm system is heading to Oklahoma this weekend. The first round of severe weather will likely remain west of I-35 until very late on Saturday night. That means, outside of a few general showers and storms in far NE Oklahoma Saturday morning, the first half of the weekend for Green Country will be fairly quiet – outside of the wind!
We know that the storm system along with the surface dry line will be in position to bring us the biggest threat of severe weather on Sunday. Scattered storms may arrive in the early morning hours Sunday, some of which may be severe. However, daytime heating along with strong dynamics (wind shear and lift for storms) will make the midday to afternoon hours the greatest threat for significant severe weather (tornadoes, particularly large hail and high winds).
All signs point to the severe threat ending Sunday evening with a series of unseasonably cool days to follow.
What we don't know: The biggest uncertainty for eastern Oklahoma is whether or not storms from Saturday night that linger into Sunday morning will stabilize the area just east of the dry line. There's the chance that areas of rain and storms will limit the surface heating during that prime window just before the system pushes by the region. Should that occur, the second, more intense potential wave of storms Sunday afternoon will be stunted and the severe threat lessened significantly.
The other uncertainty is where the dry line advances by Sunday midday. Some indications are that it only makes it to the I-35 corridor, in which case, storms that fire near or just in front of that boundary would be severe with the potential for tornadoes by the time they reach a Bartlesville-Tulsa-McAlester line. However, some computer models show the dry line setting up near the Tulsa area, in which case, the storms wouldn't likely reach severe levels until they are in far eastern Oklahoma.
Despite these uncertainties, it's important to be aware that the threat for severe weather on Sunday is significant and tornadoes will likely be in the mix if the above factors (morning storm interruptions to heat and a dry line too far east) don't come to fruition. Any time between noon and 6pm would be the time in which the threat is highest for severe weather and tornadoes for the Tulsa area. The threat ends by mid-evening across far eastern/SE Oklahoma.
Be sure to go over each of the safety preparation tips before Sunday and stay alert to the evolving threat throughout the weekend on KOTV and Newson6.com. I'll have the latest on Twitter (@GroganontheGO) and on my Facebook page as well!