Irene has come and gone from the East Coast, but the heat still remains in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the few showers we've seen have done little to provide relief to our record dry and hot summer. As I write this, wildfires are springing up in the OKC metro area – just another indication of how desperately we need rain.
Unfortunately, rain may be difficult to come by in the following days. However, cooler weather appears to be a better bet as we head into the holiday weekend. A fairly strong trough will dig into the Plains this weekend, allowing a cold front (more worthy of the name than previous fronts) to come into our state. The timing and amount of rain it could bring is up in the air (no pun intended), but we think by Labor Day, our high temperatures will only be in the 80s! Until then, blazing sunshine, triple-digit heat, and extreme fire danger will be prevalent. As of August 30th, Tulsa has reached or exceeded 90 degrees 88 of the past 91 days. That's another heat record we'll claim this summer. Just remember, we are just hours from entering the month of September.
Speaking of September, we are also entering the peak season for tropical activity. We've already seen Irene. In case you missed the widespread coverage, it spared New York City the worst, but tragically, dozens lost their lives and billions of dollars of damage occurred from North Carolina into New England. The track of Irene went directly up the Mid-Atlantic coastline and over New York City, but fortunately, the winds progressively weakened.
Just as quickly as Irene died, Tropical Storm Katia (pronounced KAH-tyah) formed. It lies thousands of miles away from the U.S. in the Atlantic Ocean. Its path will take it west-northwesterly into the weekend as it develops into a hurricane, possibly of Category 3 strength or higher. From there, it may take a turn north as the same trough, bringing us cooler air this weekend, swings it away from the U.S. coastline. There is still plenty of time for that scenario to change, though.
Of greater concern is a tropical disturbance that the computer models consistently form into an organized system in the northern Gulf of Mexico later this week. If it becomes a tropical storm, its name would be Lee. This may at least indirectly impact our weather. We'll keep you updated on this system, if it does indeed form. I know that Texas would welcome a weak tropical system with abundant rainfall given their drought situation.
For more of my updates on the weather, follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO!