Oppressive heat continues, even into a month we often deem as our transition into fall. Temperatures on this Tuesday are expected to approach record levels as the upper-level ridge keeps our hot air mass in place… for now. That is about to all change in the coming days. In fact, by the weekend, I expect a nice taste of fall weather coming in for our region.
Our forecast can be divided into three segments: the extreme heat, the unsettled, wet, transitional period, and the big-time cool-down. The first segment is something we'd really like to leave behind. The map above shows the high temperatures from Labor Day. Clearly, a lot of folks were sweating it out over the holiday weekend. Not included on the Mesonet map, Bartlesville hit a scorching 110º, setting an all-time record high for September. Heat warnings and Ozone Alerts are two things I bet no one will miss. If we can make it through the afternoon, it (our temperatures) really should be all downhill for the rest of the week. Still, this heat dries up the land quickly and produces a greater fire danger. (A perfect example is the blaze that started near Tall Chief Cove on Labor Day – caused a golf club hitting a rock, that created a spark that became the fire). We clearly need more rain and less heat.
Fortunately, that next segment in the forecast, Wednesday through Friday, provides hope relief in the form of rain. A strong trough will begin to form with a nice piece of mid-level energy, giving us northwesterly flow aloft. This allows storm systems to sweep through the region and bring rain in the process. Several rounds of it are possible, with the greatest rain chances found on Friday. A final and strong cold front will plunge in from the north and likely give us widespread rain and thunderstorms. If we can even have a couple soaking rain episodes this week, we will be in much better shape.
Following that strong cold front on Friday comes a true taste of fall. Blustery north winds will usher in temperatures a good 15º cooler than the rest of the week. Our daytime highs will actually resemble our current low temperatures, and our morning lows will dip well into the 50s. Wow! I'm already starting to crave warm apple cider. Needless to say, Saturday onward will be welcome relief for anyone who likes to spend time outdoors. I would be very surprised if we approached triple-digit heat again for the rest of the year.