The first map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, shows how far behind we are on our rainfall since the first of the year. As you can see, we have only received 20% or less of our normal rainfall up till now for a large portion of the state. More specifically, this is the driest start to a calendar year on record for Tulsa. Needless to say, we need moisture and we need a lot of it. But, as the 7 day QPF map on the right also shows, the heavier amounts of precipitation will once again be well east of us.
At least we have a chance, in fact several chances over the course of the upcoming 7 days. However, most of what falls will be on the light side and the precipitation type is also in question; particularly as we get into the coming weekend.
Taking things a day at a time, the clouds that moved back in during the day today kept temperatures on the chilly side along with a brisk northerly wind. Those northerly winds will continue into the night tonight, diminishing somewhat towards morning. Those winds have also brought a shallow, cold air mass back into the state and with clearing skies towards morning temperatures will get off to a very cold start with morning lows generally in the teens. There is also a slim possibility of a few flurries or a brief shower for the extreme SE counties early tonight. No accumulation though.
Despite lots of sunshine through the day Wednesday and a light northerly wind becoming somewhat variable during the afternoon, temperatures will struggle to make it much above freezing. Mid-upper 30s will be the general rule which is about 20 degrees below normal.
Thursday will be somewhat milder with highs in the 40s and lots of sunshine for much of the day. Clouds will be moving back in late in the day and our winds will be returning to a more SE direction that night. That combination should keep temperatures from dropping much below freezing, if at all for Friday morning, but there is also a slim chance of some light precipitation by then so it could be close.
Gusty southerly winds will try to warm things up during the day Friday but cloudy skies and a chance of light rain or showers should hold afternoon temperatures into the 50s. By way of comparison, lots of sunshine and a more SW wind will likely push our neighbors in W OK into the 70s that afternoon.
Then it starts getting a little more interesting. Another surge of shallow, cold air will be arriving Saturday and becoming entrenched for Sunday and well into next week. At the same time, a stronger disturbance aloft will be coming this way providing a chance of precipitation. We could see a few light showers on Sat, but temperatures should also be in the 40s for much of the day.
For those of you who follow the numerical guidance, the longer range products are going their separate ways starting on Sunday. The only real agreement is that it will likely be wet, but the temperature profile from the GFS would suggest a cold rain. On the other hand, the ECMWF would keep temperatures below freezing each day Sun-Tue implying a mixed bag of freezing rain/ sleet/snow starting Sunday morning and not ending till Monday morning. Keep in mind, the system responsible for this signal is currently out over the Pacific Ocean. It will likely be another couple of days before we get a good data sample so there will likely be some flips before a consensus is reached. With that in mind, am currently opting for a cold rain on Sunday, but it will certainly bear watching.
By the way, the last two maps on the right show the expected temperature and precipitation departures from normal for the 8-14 day period. As you can see, not only will the coming week be much cooler than normal but so will the following week. Also, not much more in the way of precipitation is expected after this week.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.