Another cold air mass will settle across the state today bringing highs back into the lower to mid-50s. A strong upper level system will be influencing our weather Wednesday through Friday with rain and storm chances. A few severe storms will be possible Thursday afternoon and evening across far eastern OK. The weekend appears pleasant and dry.
The cold front swept across the area last night on schedule bringing gusty northwest winds and colder air to the region. A few fast moving showers were noted across far southeastern Kansas and northeastern OK early yesterday evening. A surface ridge of high pressure will remain near the state today keeping eastern OK under mostly sunny and cool conditions. The highs will top out in the lower 50s with northwest winds in the 10 mph range for most of the day. The next upper level system currently near the west coast will rapidly influence the weather with windy conditions Wednesday along with increasing rain chances.
This trough will slowly move eastward while ejecting waves of energy around the base of the trough into the southern plains. The pressure will rapidly fall later tonight allowing strong south winds Wednesday in the 20 to 35 mph range across central and western OK. Low level and mid-level moisture will begin the journey northward across part of Texas into Oklahoma Wednesday with increasing rain chances. The instability factor will remain very low Wednesday keeping the precipitation mainly thunder free. The rain chances will also include areas south of Tulsa, but we have increased the Tulsa pops to near 70% for the Wednesday afternoon time.
Thursday the main trough will continue to move near the state. A dry line will develop across western OK and move quickly eastward Thursday afternoon and evening before a cold front will overtake the dry line Thursday night. Low level moisture will stream northward from the Gulf into NE Texas and eastern OK. Locations to our west (central and western OK) may experience a critically high fire danger with west winds and very low humidity by Thursday afternoon while eastern OK could see a few strong to severe thunderstorms.
The set up for Thursday evening is typical for early spring. The dynamics are expected to be rather strong but the quality and depth of moisture may be rather shallow. This may be the only limiting factor for severe thunderstorm development. If the moisture return is more robust than modeled, a higher chance of severe weather would occur across the southeastern and east-central portion of the state. The veering low level wind profile may also act to quickly move available moisture eastward into Arkansas and points east and northeast.
The timing and forecast from Thursday night into Friday runs into a lower confidence issue due to conflicting information from the model sets. The GFS tends to slow the surface features Friday morning while another surface area of low pressure forms to the west. This effectively draws the moisture back across the eastern third of the state Friday and would allow another round of strong storms for the area Friday afternoon across far east central OK. The EURO data is more progressive and would quickly push the boundary south of the state Thursday night late into pre-dawn Friday. This would end the pops and bring dry and stable air to the region into Saturday before a strong southerly flow returns Sunday into early next week.
The weekend should be nice regardless of the Friday outcome with temps nearing 70 Saturday and into the mid or upper 70s Sunday along with gusty south winds.
The overall pattern should support several upper level systems nearing the state next week. The prevailing southerly low level moisture flow will be bringing moisture back into the state early next week with increasing rain and storm chances, including the threat of typical spring severe weather next week.
The official high in Tulsa yesterday was 61 recorded at 3:02pm.
The normal daily average high is 65 and the low is 43.
Our daily records include a high of 88 from 1910 and a low of 18 from 1955.
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