Archive for September, 2011

Not A Pretty Picture…
September 27, 2011

For some, the rain’s were plenty this month, but for most, they were not and with the rest of the month expected to be dry, it appears that this September will go down as the 3rd driest September since 1994. Yikes! Only 1.60″ of rain was reported at Will Rogers this month, about 2.4 inches below normal. Unless some sort of miracle rolls in here… our fire season is about to go from bad to worse.

-Damon

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Mid-Week Rainfall Potential
September 20, 2011

A cold front will move into Oklahoma tomorrow with a few clouds and somewhat cooler weather.  High temps will be in the 70s and 80s.  Tomorrow night behind the front, showers and possibly a few thunderstorms will develop across Oklahoma.  Severe weather is not expected, and some areas may pick up a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain.  Here is the rainfall potential map for tomorrow night through Thursday morning:

Most of the rain will move out of the state by Thursday afternoon.  That will be followed by an extended period of dry weather will likely last the rest of the month.

Rick

RAIN!?!?!?!?
September 19, 2011

Was it rain! or was it rain?  For some, you were able to say RAIN! this past weekend… others were left scratching their heads saying rain? September is 3rd wettest month of the entire year, but so far, for many it’s been anything but. Check out the map below:

The good news about the map above is that every inch of the state has seen some form of rain over the past 10 days. The bad news, it’s been light across parts that need it the most, which is Western Oklahoma. And for Will Rogers Airport, only .65″ of rain since the start of the month. So, this past weekends rain was great, but we need more. Lots more!

-Damon

Saturday Severe Threat
September 16, 2011

It’s been a while it seems since I had to make a map highlighting severe storms across Oklahoma. But, here we go now into our “mini” severe weather season where seeing a risk for severe storms somewhere in the state isn’t entirely unheard of. For Saturday, there is a SLIGHT RISK for severe storms in Western Oklahoma during the afternoon for storms containing hail and strong winds. I guess if it means getting rain in here, then I’ll take it!

-Damon

Heat Records This Summer
September 13, 2011

The heat records for Oklahoma keep piling up. Today was the 63rd day this year we hit at least 100 degrees in Oklahoma City. That’s now 13 days more than the previous record set back in 1980. July was also the hottest month that Oklahoma has ever seen, with an average temperature of 89.2 degrees, breaking the old record of 88.7 set back in August 1936.

Oklahoma City also had the warmest summer on record (June-August) with an average temperature of 87.5 F. The old record was 85.9 set in both 1934 and 1980. Too break the record by one-and-a-half degrees is remarkable.

It’s obviously not just Oklahoma that saw ridiculous heat this summer, much of the Southcentral and Southeast United States saw their hottest or 2nd hottest summers ever. The average U.S. temperature in August was 75.7 degrees F, which is 3.0 degrees above the long-term (1901-2000) average, while the summertime temperature was 74.5 degrees F, which is 2.4 degrees above average. The warmest August on record for the contiguous United States was 75.8 degrees F in 1983, while its warmest summer on record at 74.6 degrees F occurred in 1936.

Six states, including Oklahoma, saw there hottest August ever. The others: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana.

Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana had their warmest (June-August) summers on record. Average summer temperatures in Texas and Oklahoma, at 86.8 degrees F and 86.5 degrees F, respectively, exceeded the previous seasonal statewide average temperature record for any state during any season. The previous warmest summer statewide average temperature was in Oklahoma, during 1934 at 85.2 degrees F.

Fifteen states had a summer average temperature ranking among their top ten warmest.

Here are two incredible records:

Shreveport, Louisiana had an average temperature in August of 91.5 degrees. That broke the all-time record for warmest month by three degrees. The old record was 88.5 set in July 1998.

In Lubbock, the hottest month ever recorded there in over 100 years of records was this June. That record was then broken in July. And then that record was broken in August! The three hottest months ever, in one summer!

Rusty

 

 

Oklahoma…Then and Now
September 12, 2011

The end of our “wet” season is just a few weeks ago. And yes, September is traditionally known as a wet month for us. Though, so far, it’s been anything but. Last year though, it was a different case as we received more than enough rain. Last September was a good month for OKlahoma City as we registered over 3 inches of rain within the first 12 days of the month. Op top of all the other rain we had that year, looking down from space, Oklahoma looked lush..it was green. Check it out!

The above picture is a hi-res satellite image of Oklahoma that was taken on September 11th. Now, let’s compare the same area, taken yesterday from the same satellite.

Too much brown. I highlighted a massive burn scar from a fire that occured right outside of Lawton. Sadly, I expect to see more images like this over the coming months. And that is black scars so large from fires, that they can be seen from space.

-Damon

Hot Weather Returns….But it Won’t Stay Long
September 11, 2011

Hi folks.  We certainly have enjoyed a week’s worth of comfortable weather, unfortunately it’s going away.  In its place will be some summertime heat.  In fact, as we start off the new week, 90s and 100s are likely across Oklahoma.  Monday and Tuesday will be the hottest days before a cold front arrives late Tuesday.  Here are expected highs for Tuesday:

After dealing with crazy heat for the last three months, you’re sick and tired of it.  But not to worry.  This mini heatwave will only last through Tuesday.  In fact, a cold front will enter northern Oklahoma during the day Tuesday and push south across the rest of the state Tuesday night and Wednesday.  This front will bring much cooler weather and a chance of showers and thunderstorms:

Temperatures on Wednesday will drop into the 70s and 80s, while highs on Thursday and Friday will be in the 60s and 70s.  In addition to the cooler weather, there will be a decent chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms:

This rain won’t bring an end to the drought by any stretch of the imagination, but it may help bring at least some temporary relief.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Rick

A Sign Of Change?
September 9, 2011

Is this a sign that change is in the air? Record highs BELOW 100°? The record high today is only 99°. That’s right..only 99°! The last time we had a record high of 99° was all the way back on June 5th. So, when is getting over 100° really hard to do? The last 100° record high is September 30th. Still 3 weeks left folks…

-Damon

Bad News: La Nina Is Back….And Getting Stronger
September 8, 2011

It is news that we feared we would hear: La Nina is back, and will likely strengthen over the next several months.  You may recall La Nina is a cooling of the waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.  The cooling of those waters has an impact on the position of the jet stream, and therefore impacts global weather patterns.  In Oklahoma, La Nina patterns tend to produce milder than average weather, and also drier than average weather.  That is exactly what Oklahoma does not need given the severe drought that is ongoing.

The La Nina pattern that was in place through the winter of 2010-2011, gradually faded over the spring.  But the latest computer simulations and observations indicate that the waters have begun to cool again.  Take a look:

You can see the blue areas in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of South America representing the cooler than normal water temperatures.  An intensification of La Nina would lead to a farther northward position of the jet stream in the United States, yielding wetter weather in the north.  See the effects of the previous La Nina on rainfall in the United States:

The green areas indicate where rainfall was above normal over the 10 month period ending in July 2011, while the yellow, brown and pink areas are where rainfall was below average.  So southern ares (including Oklahoma) were dry, while many northern areas had normal to above normal rainfall.  With the forecast of another La Nina winter, it should come as no surprise that the outlook for Oklahoma is not good.  The following maps show the prediction of temperatures and precipitation for the months of December, January, and February, otherwise known as meteorological winter:

The temperature forecast calls for temperatures to likely be above average across much of the south.

The precipitation forecast calls for a chance of below normal precipitation across the south.  So the outlook is not promising for Oklahoma to see a major shift in the pattern that would bring relief from the drought that is hurting our state.  In fact, it is very possible that we will see a continuation of the dry pattern lasting through the upcoming winter.

Rick

Pumpkins, Heat Domes, and Tropical Systems
September 7, 2011

I came home this evening to the sight of three pumpkins in my garden.  I had to rub my eyes to make sure I was not seeing things, after all it seems a bit early for Halloween decorations. 

I think the cooler weather has really given my wife a case of autumn-itis, since she was the one who purchased the pumpkins.  Who can blame her after the summer that we’ve endured, besides, fall is her favorite time of year.

Now that we have some cooler weather, rainfall would be a nice addition.  Farmers will be planting the winter wheat crop in the coming weeks, but the soil moisture is meager to say the least.  According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, much of the state has had the driest summer on record.  That goes along with the hottest summer on record.

There is a small chance for some rain in eastern Oklahoma this weekend from the remains of tropical storm Lee.  That weather system is still producing flooding rains in the mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast.  You may recall Lee came ashore near New Orleans last weekend and produced heavy rain and tornadoes in the Southeast.  If you look at the following  jet stream map from this evening, you can see a “dip” located over the eastern United States.  That’s what’s left of Lee.

By Sunday, that “dip” actually drifts west as it weakens, closer to Oklahoma.  Here’s Sunday’s jet stream map:

If there is any rain in Oklahoma from this system, it would be in eastern parts of the state.  Unfortunately the chances of any decent rainfall are very low.  By early next week, the heat makes a bit of a return as our old friend the heat dome returns to the southern Plains:

This will mean high temperatures in the 90s will once again be common Monday and Tuesday.  The models show a cold front arriving next Wednesday with a slight chance of showers and somewhat cooler air.

Since we are rapidly approaching mid-September, the tropics are very active with three named storms in the Atlantic basin:

The only system that could possibly affect Oklahoma is tropical storm Nate in the southern Gulf of Mexico.  More likely it won’t have any impact as the models either move it west into Mexico, or take it northeast:

I guess there’s still plenty of uncertainty.  Who knows, maybe nature will be kind and take the storm into Texas and Oklahoma and give us both a nice drink of water.  I doubt it, but we’ll keep watching.

Rick