While yesterday's rainfall was certainly a blessing, we need a lot more to replenish the ground moisture and put some water in our ponds, lakes, and streams. Speaking of ground moisture, notice the two maps on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. The top map shows a measure of soil moisture that is referred to as the fractional water index at 2 inches. This provides a general indication of the soil moisture at that level. The second map shows the same thing, but at 24 inches. Obviously, the recent rainfall helped the surface soil moisture for at least part of the state, but the deeper levels are still exceptionally dry. So, the drought goes on and there is no additional relief in sight anytime soon.
This forecast cycle will have little or no mention of rain; in fact, the slight chance that we did have for the coming weekend has been removed. There was only a weak qpf signal in the longer range guidance for that time frame anyway, and the latest and greatest model data now suggests even that is not going to happen. The longer range guidance is now suggesting there may be a chance of rain along about Monday/Tuesday of the following week, but that system appears rather weak at this time frame and would not be surprised if it fails to pan out either.
So, forecast uncertainties for the rest of this week and into the coming weekend largely deal with temperatures. After a cold, frosty start to our day today, look for Tuesday morning to also get off to a cold, frosty start with temperatures generally in the 20s. Hardly a cloud can be found today, but several weak waves aloft will provide some of those high level cirrus clouds from time to time for the rest of the week. However, that will have little impact on our sensible weather as temperatures will be slowly moderating.
Lower 50s for this afternoon will be followed by mid-upper 50s Tuesday afternoon and generally in the lower 60s by later in the week and for the coming weekend. The dry air that is in place and the light winds will also keep out nights on the chilly side with morning lows generally in the 30s for the rest of the week and into the weekend as well. To keep things in perspective 63/41 is the normal high/low temperature for this time of year.
Back to the soil moisture situation; at least the relatively cool temperatures and the light winds do suggest that evaporation rates will be quite low so the moisture that is available will hang around for awhile. However, if we do not receive some more significant rainfall and eventually replenish the deeper layers, then it will not take long for even that moisture to dissipate. Unfortunately, the current weather pattern does not appear very promising for anything along those lines anytime soon.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.