Turning Cooler, Still Needing Moisture.

Friday, February 21st 2014, 3:37 pm
By: News On 6

The first map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, shows how dry it was this afternoon with relative humidity levels dropping below 20% and at times near 10%. That is unusual for this side of the state and together with the warm temperatures, gusty SW winds, and dormant vegetation, has created another high fire danger situation. Fortunately, the winds will begin to subside as the sun goes down with southerly winds around 10 mph or so expected overnight. Also, the nighttime cooling will bring about higher humidity levels which will help somewhat with the fire danger. Those light southerly winds will also keep temperatures a bit milder tonight with most of us in the 30s to near 40 to start the day Saturday.

Unfortunately, southerly winds will be picking back up again Saturday to 10-20 mph and temperatures will be rising well into the 60s if not 70 for daytime highs. However, the dew point temperature which is an absolute measure of the moisture in the air will also be on the rise so the relative humidity will not be as extremely low as was the case today. Even so, fire danger is a major concern for Saturday.

A cold front will be arriving that night which will drop temperatures about 20 degrees or so for Sunday afternoon. Brisk northerly winds and cloudy skies should keep us in the 40s to near 50 for the afternoon after starting off in the 30s that morning. There is also a chance of some light rain showers so humidity levels will be much higher helping with the fire danger situation. However, any rain that does fall will be very light and will not help much with the long term dryness.

As mentioned yesterday, so far this is the second driest start to a calendar year in the history of Tulsa so we can certainly use some moisture. Having said that, the second map on the right shows the plant available water at 4", also courtesy of the OK Mesonet. We do have subsoil moisture, but even so drought is rearing its ugly head once again across the state as the third map on the right shows and we could certainly use some moisture, either rain or snow.

The very warm, Spring-like temperatures of the past week will be replaced by temperatures well below normal for much of the coming week. The cooler air arriving Sunday will be re-enforced by even cooler air Tue-Thu. The cooler air will also result in higher levels of humidity, but there is still not much of a precipitation signal in the longer range guidance. We may see a few light showers along about Tue and there will be another chance along about Friday, but for now a good, widespread, soaking moisture event does not appear likely through this forecast cycle.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot