We've crossed into the "Dog Days" of summer about a month early. The kind of heat we've endured since the weekend is typical of late July or August, but unusual in both its intensity and longevity for June. As we flirt with record hot conditions, many are wondering if this is just the beginning of another brutal summer in Oklahoma.
In the short-term, I can't offer any real hope of relief. A dominant area of high pressure is parked over the central United States, shunting all of the active weather around it. We're too far north for the tropical moisture but too far south for a cold front to bring us relief. What a nasty place we find ourselves! Tuesday was a testament to that as the map shows above. Temperatures soared past 110º in far western Oklahoma – just a few degrees shy of the all-time hottest weather for that date in Oklahoma history. We also set a record warm low in Tulsa this morning – only dropping to 80º.
The heat is doing our drought situation no favors. The sunshine will continue to bake our soil and deplete the ground of moisture. We'll likely see another upgrade in drought categories across portions of Oklahoma on Thursday. We should count our blessings though. As we've seen, much of the west, particularly Colorado, is dealing with devastating wildfires. While the winds may not be as strong in the coming days, the continued dry and hot weather will make the fire-fighting an uphill battle for days and weeks to come.
June will be coming to a close with near-record heat. As we head towards the weekend, the ridge of high pressure (our heat dome) will flatten out a bit. The effect we'll see is slightly cooler temperatures and perhaps a few more clouds. It's hard to call a drop to 99º, "relief," but we'll take what we can get. Unfortunately, the flatness in the jet stream to our north still won't translate to any meaningful storm system. To make matters worse, another ridge will build to our west early next week and bring our temperatures back into triple-digit territory again. Excuse the overused pun, but the Fourth of July will be a firecracker of day.
There's no clear evidence that this pattern will change in the next week or two. That doesn't mean, however, that this sort of heat will be maintained all summer long. In fact, it rarely does except in a few instances like last summer. With that memory scarred in our minds, we can't help but feel a sense of dread for the season to come. I can guarantee we'll be looking for any sort of relief and will eagerly pass it along once we see it coming! In the meantime, we'll continue to roast.