You know it's going to a scorcher when your temperatures START out at 88º in the morning. That was the case in Tulsa today as we set a record warm low… not just for this date, but an ALL-TIME record! Barring any unforeseen cool-down later in the day, it will be a new record we'll certainly hope to never top.
Unfortunately, there is a chance we could even break that record and several others in the coming days. An epic heat wave has gripped Eastern Oklahoma, the likes of last summer. Through at least Thursday, record highs will be challenged, if not easily broken. That says something as we enter the climatologically hottest time of the year. This heat wave will peak midweek as both the upper-level high pressure and mid/low-level temperatures max out over the region.
This may come as no surprise, but Tulsa will be one of the hottest cities in the United States this week. Just take a look at the map above for proof. This is graphical forecast from the National Weather Service shows the center of the heat right over north-central Oklahoma. In case you're wondering, the only location I could find with hotter temperatures in the United States is Death Valley – and they'll only beat us by a few degrees for highs and lows. One final tidbit: the all-time record high temperature for Tulsa is 115º. Our projected high of 112º on Wednesday is sure getting close to the most extreme kind of heat we ever see. (Last year's highest temperature in Tulsa was 113º.)
The dangerous heat will be with us all week. Over-exertion outdoors could have dire consequences if you aren't hydrated and taking frequent breaks. Remember, with morning lows only in the 80s, there won't be any time in the day where conditions are all that comfortable. However, early morning will certainly be the time to get your outdoor activities done with triple-digits likely in the day anytime between 10am and 10pm.
A weakening upper-level ridge by the weekend will take some of the edge off of the heat. Still, we are calling for 100º+ temperatures through the weekend, but we at least can mention an isolated storm here and there. There is no significant relief in sight, even in the long-term. Hopefully, this will be the worst of the heat this week. However, with the worsening of our drought, we will continue to be prone to more extreme temperatures due to the lack of moisture. On top of that, relative humidity values will dip to near 20% in the afternoons, adding to the fire danger.