As I was mowing the lawn over the weekend, I started to notice the all-too-familiar brownish hue our grass was taking on. Except in summers like last year, Mother Nature does a nice job at keeping things fairly green in Green Country until the proverbial Dog Days of summer hit late in July. Our string of dry, 100º-days is taking a toll on our vegetation and reflects the double-trouble that is brewing in Oklahoma: drought and fire danger.
There are many festivities this week revolving around fireworks, and we want to make sure everyone is aware of the fire risk involved. Several counties in eastern Oklahoma, Adair & Leflore, are already under Burn Bans. Heat and dry vegetation will do us no favors in the coming week. Even with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms this afternoon, it won't be enough water to ward off these concerns.
On the positive side of things, we are catching a small degree of relief from the heat wave. The ridge of high pressure has weakened, allowing more clouds to form and providing us with a slightly cooler air mass overall. Enjoy this cool-down because are expecting to near the century mark as early as Tuesday afternoon in some locations. Following that, we have another week of not record, but above-average temperatures with highs around 100º each day.
We've already had six days of triple-digit heat year-to-date in Tulsa. That is actually more than the four days we had up till this point last year. Are we headed down the same road as last summer? Initially, yes. Long-term? Not as likely. There are signs that the jet stream will take a dip further south early next week and send some cooler temperatures with the possibility of rain our way. Once we make it through another bone-dry week with searing temperatures, the Climate Prediction Center gives us a decent shot of rain in the 8 to 14-day outlook (shown above). A period of unsettled weather would level out those temperatures and make it harder for the air mass to recover to previous levels of heat for awhile. It would also greatly reduce our fire danger. If we don't see that kind of relief, we're in for some troubling levels of fire danger later in the month.