A Record Breaking Start to Our Day.

Sunday, July 29th 2012, 9:30 am
By: News On 6

Wish I could say there was relief in sight from this current drought/heat wave/fire danger situation we are in, but there is just not much room for optimism. The warm, dry upper level ridge that is parked just west of us remains the dominant feature and although it will wobble around some during the coming week and should flatten a bit by the weekend, its influence will still be felt at the surface. As it drifts around and weakens somewhat, have trended the temperatures down a little by the coming weekend, but we are still looking at triple digits as far as the eye can see.

In fact, we were a degree short of tying the record high yesterday and will be right at record levels during the day for at least the next four or five days. Not only that, but we are getting no relief at night as the low so far this morning has only been 86 which will be a new record in that category. Look for night time temperatures to also be near record levels each morning during the coming week. Bottom line is this coming week looks to not only be the hottest of this summer, but may turn out to be one of the hottest of any summer. Ever! And that is saying something.

Along with the heat comes more dryness as dew point temperatures will mix out into the 50s and relative humidity levels will be dropping to 20% or less during the afternoon hours. These very low humidity levels also result in a high fire danger situation as the vegetation continues to dry out. Fortunately, the winds will not be too strong, but will be generally from the S or SW at 10-15 mph during the day with an occasional higher gust. These low humidity levels, the extreme heat, and the breeze also produce evaporation rates of ½" per day or so placing additional stress on plants, reduces what little soil moisture is left, and contributes to drying up our ponds and lakes.

Speaking of soil moisture, the map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet shows clearly the rain footprint mentioned yesterday in SE OK. Unfortunately with these kinds of conditions, those areas will quickly dry out as well. It has already been overwhelmed by the surface heating as they were also in triple digits on Saturday although not as hot as the rest of the state.

The longer range guidance has a bit of a mixed signal by this coming weekend and going into that following week. The European model, which has the best track record so far, strongly suggests little or no relief at all. A couple of other models, including the GFS, the CMC and the NOGAPS do at least hint at some relief and the longer range GFS suggests a possible pattern change later that next week. Don't be the farm on that just yet though. Last summer we did not get a break in the heat until after the first week of August. Just hoping and praying that will be the case this year as well.

In the meantime, stay cool, stay tuned, and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot