After the chilly start this morning, temperatures rebounded rather nicely this afternoon as the max/min temperature map on the right shows, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. To put these numbers in proper perspective, the normal daily range at this time of year is 67/44 for the max/min respectively.
Monday looks to have a milder start with morning lows in the 40s due to a light southerly wind overnight and increasing middle and high level cloudiness. The southerly winds and the clouds are in response to a rapidly moving, vigorous system aloft which will be quickly passing overhead during the day Monday. Most of the energy from this system will be further east of us and since there will be very limited moisture to work with then only a few showers or possibly some thunder may occur for the more eastern counties and into Arkansas.
Since the chance of rain will be minimal, the main influence on our sensible weather will be the winds which will be shifting to the NW as the trailing cool front pushes rapidly on through the state. Those NW winds will be rather gusty by afternoon with wind speeds up around 20-25 mph and possibly even more which together with the dry, dormant vegetation will be cause for concern regarding any fires getting out of control. Those winds, clouds, and the cooler air aloft will also keep temperatures below what we had today with daytime highs struggling to get above 60 for the more eastern counties and generally in the middle 60s elsewhere.
Tuesday will be back to mostly sunny skies and light southerly winds followed by gusty southerly winds for the latter part of the week. Those strong southerly winds and lots of sunshine should get us back into the 70s by Wednesday and the upper 70s by Thursday and Friday. Some locations may even see 80 before the week is over. The winds and the warm, dry conditions are another cause for concern for fire weather for the latter part of the week as well.
A widespread, soaking rainfall event is desperately needed for our state, but every time we see a system on the horizon that looks promising, it usually fizzles out by the time it gets here. That may be the story for this coming weekend as well. A promising storm system will be developing and will push a strong cold front through the state over the course of the coming weekend. The timing differences between the GFS and the ECMWF is down to about 12 hours or so which is actually pretty good considering how far in advance this is. There are also some intensity differences, but the bottom line is that this system has the potential to produce some decent storms when it does arrive which will most likely be late Saturday night or Sunday morning. For that reason, I have opted to invert the temperatures for Sunday as it looks like there will be some pretty cold air settling in behind this system. And, given the history of most of the storm systems recently, will keep a more conservative approach on our rain chances until the event get closer and we get better data to work with. At least this system does offer some hope for some decent rains for at least some of us.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.