We're beyond Labor Day, but Mother Nature doesn't always take cues from the calendar. We're back to a hot, dry, essentially summer-like pattern without too much change in sight. The intensity of the heat is becoming limited by a lessening sun angle fortunately. Just for perspective though, our average high temperature is in the upper 80s, so 90° readings are a bit abnormal and are increasingly so as we go deeper into September.
As the heat slowly builds in Oklahoma through the weekend, we continue to dry out. It's been over three weeks now since we've had a widespread, soaking rainfall and that is resulting in an increasingly colorful drought map again. You'll see in the first attached map that the streak of yellow now encompasses much of northeast Oklahoma. It means "Abnormally Dry" and can be seen as a precursor to drought again. Southwestern Oklahoma along with the Panhandle have been in dire straits all along, and remain in extreme or exceptional drought.
As a sprawling area of high pressure dominates the region, our weather remains calm, quiet, and hot. The heat wave crests this weekend, but little change in the pattern occurs for us until the middle of next week – at the earliest. A stronger wave in the jet stream may send a weak cold front into Oklahoma, bringing down our temperatures a bit for a time and giving us our first chance of rain in quite a while. Until then, it's the kind of forecast that makes my job as a meteorologist, not so challenging!
The cool-down may not hold as there are signs another ridge of high pressure in the jet stream sends the active storm pattern way north again as hot, dry weather builds back. That has prompted the Climate Prediction Center to show a high likelihood of above-normal temperatures for the middle of September (see second map). It looks like it also amounts to a continued dry streak of weather as well.
While our weather remains quiet, so do the Tropics. There is a Tropical Depression named Gabrielle near the Dominican Republic, but its brief life may be coming to an end as it interacts with land and destructive wind shear. Otherwise, all is rather quiet. Although we've made it to 7 named storms already, none of them have been a hurricane or had a significant impact on the U.S. Hurricane Season peaks in a few days, and it's a bit unusual to have so little significant activity. That could all change in the coming weeks, but so far, none of the prime ingredients have come together at the right time for these Tropical waves to amount to a whole lot more.
In conclusion, it's taking some time for both fall-like weather and the Hurricane Season to come to fruition. Eventually, we'll see some big changes if this September follows like most others.