Drought Improvement Short-Lived

Thursday, January 17th 2013, 2:47 pm
By: News On 6

After a period of active weather this month, we are back to a dry, rather quiet pattern that doesn't bode well for our drought situation. The most recent Drought Monitor does reflect the most recent moisture much of that state has seen. Unfortunately, the only visible improvement has been across southeastern Oklahoma where two-month rain totals have exceeded half a foot. The rest of us saw enough moisture to stall the drought's progression, but that's about it. Check out the latest attached Drought Monitor.

If you've seen our forecast, you know we're nearly void of any rain or snow chances through the week. Our temperatures will be on a roller-coaster ride, but these changes will come without the needed moisture. An Arctic plunge will impact the eastern two-thirds of the country by early next week as a deep polar low allows the cold conveyer belt to set up from the Arctic regions down into the Lower 48. Much of the country will experience the coldest air of the season. Here in Oklahoma, we'll get a glancing blow of this Arctic air mass. For a day or two, we'll be cold, but a return to southerly winds and a shift east in the western ridge will allow for a quick rebound in temperatures by midweek.

Unfortunately, with northwesterly flow in the jet stream overhead we see a series of cold fronts clipping us without the opportunity for meaningful moisture return from the Gulf of Mexico. It actually is an active weather pattern, but a quiet one for us without any significant moisture to work with. Hence, a dry forecast.

There is an inkling of hope in some rain late next week. A stronger system further west will break down the ridge of high pressure overhead by then and allow for a better potential of moisture return. This appears to be a minor perturbation, not a substantive pattern change. Thus, the Climate Prediction Center is keeping our probabilities of below-normal precipitation through the end of the month pretty high. The second map above shows their projection. Based upon our longer-range computer models, it looks like our driest month of the year will be living up to its reputation. We'll likely lose what ground we gained in drought relief, but at least we had something falling from the sky not all that long ago.

From our perspective at the News on 6, we are happy for a period of quiet weather as we transition to our new building this weekend. We need the moisture, but not the added hassle of bad weather in the final hours of our move. After that, I say, bring on the moisture! It'd be nice to have a head start on drought relief as we head into the wetter spring months. For now, we wait.

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