Yesterday, I mentioned the drought was once again rearing its ugly head across the state. The first two maps on the right, courtesy of the good folks at the OK Mesonet, illustrate rather well what has taken place over the course of the past year. The top map shows the departure from normal rainfall from Feb 15-Aug 17 which basically covers a rather wet period for much of the state. Notice that central and E OK had a surplus of moisture during that period while the folks out west and in particular the SW missed out. Then from Aug 17 through now, the second map shows the moisture deficit during that time frame which clearly shows why drought is spreading eastward.
The third map on the right shows the anticipated QPF for the next 7 days and once again OK will be high and dry. That means the drought will only worsen, and along with the dry conditions the fire danger will also be high. In fact, a Red Flag Fire Danger statement has already been issued by the good folks at the NWS office for a dangerous combination of wind and low humidity levels for much of the state. In other words, no time to be careless while outdoors.
Sunny skies, SW winds of 15-25 mph with some higher gusts, humidity values dropping into the teens and low 20% range, and dry, dormant vegetation all add up to a dangerous situation. On top of that, temperatures will be soaring well into the 60s after a very cold start this morning.
Monday will also have a high fire danger, but with a brisk N wind as a cold front will arrive overnight tonight. The northerly winds will be blowing 15-20 mph with higher gusts for much of the day but the colder air will not be arriving till that evening/night. Temperatures for Monday will still be much above normal with daytime highs well into the 50s.
Tuesday will be much colder with morning lows in the low 20s and temperatures struggling to get much above freezing during the course of the day. At least there will be lots of sunshine but a brisk NE wind will make it feel colder and that will also contribute to another high fire danger situation.
Temperatures will rebound on Wed with daytime highs back near 50 and southerly winds for much of the day. But, even colder air will arrive early Thursday and this system keeps looking colder and colder with each model run. It now appears we will stay below freezing all day and should be in the low teens with possibly some single digits to start the day Friday. This will be shot-lived though as temperatures should rebound rather quickly going into the weekend.
So, a real roller-coaster ride with respect to temperatures this week but no moisture is in the forecast so the fire danger will also be with us all week long.