It is now what we weather folks call our secondary severe weather season. It's the time of the year where there's occasionally the right amount of instability, moisture, and upper level energy to spawn severe thunderstorms. It's also the time of year when our temperatures take a roller-coaster ride. That is exactly what we have on tap for our region this weekend.
Stormy weather is back in the picture for Tulsa but the risk of severe and damaging conditions is limited this far east. The stout cold front moving in from the northwest will spark thunderstorms this evening across north-central and western Oklahoma. The cold front may be too strong for the storm's own good as cold air may undercut the storms, which will cause them to weaken. Still, the storms may have some strong winds and hail as they roll towards the Tulsa area by late evening. Most of the football games and state fair activities will be wrapping up by that time, but it's a threat to be wary of nonetheless. Check out my map of the timeline for storms in the area.
If you aren't reading this until Saturday, the storms are past and the autumn chill is here. A dramatic difference in temperatures is expected: from 90° Friday to the lower 60s and 50s by Saturday. By most standards, that's not overly cold. Compared to where we've been though, it will be a shock to the system. Have that jacket ready! A rain jacket may even serve you some good in the morning with some lingering showers possible. We should dry out with a cool breeze in time for the college football games throughout the state Saturday afternoon and evening.
This is not necessarily the abrupt start to consistently cool, fall weather. The weekend will be refreshingly cool with some chilly mornings in the 40s (even upper 30s in some sheltered valleys). However, south winds return next week and, before we know it, will be back in a similar pattern to this week. Highs return to the 80s midweek with sunny skies.
In other weather news, the same system bringing us the storms is also producing a blizzard of epic proportions across the northern Plains. Up to 2 feet of snow has fallen in South Dakota with gusts up to 60mph possible. Talk about an early and brutal arrival to the colder seasons! Also of note is Tropical Storm Karen, expected to make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast this weekend. Anywhere from coastal Louisiana to New Orleans and over to the Florida Panhandle are under the gun for 50-60mph winds, some storm surge, and localized flooding.