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Record Maximum 97 F HOOK 2006
Record Minimum 17 F BOIS 2013
Record Rainfall 3.57" WEST 2011

* Mesonet History = since 1994

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April 23, 2014     April 23, 2014     April 23, 2014     April 23, 2014      


Severe weather is in the air!

In fact, there's bad weather on the rise (CCR kids ... google it). We turn today
towards the west as severe thunderstorms are possible across far western Oklahoma,
moving east through the night. All emphasis on "possible," of course. Here is the
day 1 convective outlook from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) showing the main
area of focus, as well as the categorical chances across the area for hail, severe
winds and tornadoes. Later, we'll let the local weather service offices better 
pinpoint the risks and timing for us. 

Before we look at the outlooks, here's a bit of information about outlooks and
how to use them from the Grand Poobah of severe weather warnings, NWS Norman 
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Smith. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/12.things.about.svr.wx.outlooks.1-6.jpg
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/12.things.about.svr.wx.outlooks.7-12.jpg

Okay, onto the outlooks.  

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/day1otlk_1300.gif
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/day1probotlk_1300_hail.gif
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/day1probotlk_1300_torn.gif
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/day1probotlk_1300_wind.gif 

There is a slight chance for isolated tornadoes across west central and 
southwestern Oklahoma, but there's a bigger chance of at least 2-inch diameter
hail (or larger) over that same area. So those together smell of isolated 
supercells. Here's what the local NWS offices in the area are saying about today's 
severe weather chances. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/nws-amarillo.jpg
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/nws-norman.jpg
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/nws-tulsa.png  

And here is the rainfall potential from those storms, at least as predicted by
the Weather Prediction Center. Remember, this is all based on where those storms
will fire and possibly move over the same area a time or two, so this is very 
dodgy to say the least. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/2day.moisture.forecast.gif 

After that, we enjoy a couple of days of typical spring weather with highs in 
the 70s and 80s and lots of wind. Fire danger will be high to extreme throughout
this week thanks to those conditions coupled with vegetation that has yet to 
green up thanks to drought and cool weather. Don't believe me? Well, look how
NOT green it is this last week compared to what is "normal" for this time of 
year (note: this does not bode well for the wheat crop) ... from the US Forest
Service based on satellite data. And the 7-day fire danger calendar from NWS
Norman. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/dep-greenness.png
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/7day-fire-forecast.jpg 

About that first satellite pic, that's not to say there isn't a lot of green 
wheat out there. You can see that on the "regular" greenness map (i.e., what's
it look like right now). It's just that once you get out into that wheat, it
no longer looks so great. Too much bare ground showing through, again due to
both drought and cold weather. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/visual-greenness.png 

Following those nice-ish couple of days, the severe weather threat kicks back up
for the weekend, and this looks like it could be more widespread significant
severe weather. The SPC shows us once again with their day 4-8 severe weather 
outlook. Day 4 (D4) is Saturday, Day 5 is Sunday, so that would make Day 6
Monday, I believe (sharp as a tack!). 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/day4-8-svr-outlook.gif 

It's still a ways out there, so there is still lots of uncertainty. But here is
the SPC's thinking right now (their yelling, not mine):

   "MODERATE TO EXTREME INSTABILITY SHOULD DEVELOP EAST OF THE DRYLINE
   SATURDAY AFTERNOON ALONG ERN PLUME OF STEEP LAPSE RATES.  STRONGLY
   DIFLUENT FLOW ALOFT SHOULD ENCOURAGE VIGOROUS SUPERCELL DEVELOPMENT
   FROM PORTIONS OF WCNTRL TX...NWD INTO KS.  VERY LARGE HAIL AND
   TORNADOES CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THIS ACTIVITY.

   IT/S NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR HOW FAR EAST THE DRYLINE WILL MIX SUNDAY AS
   LOWEST PRESSURES WILL REMAIN FOCUSED ACROSS THE HIGH PLAINS OF WRN
   KS.  MODELS MIX DRYLINE EAST OF I-35 CORRIDOR ACROSS OK BY 18Z
   SUNDAY BUT THE DAY5 FORECAST WILL ACCOUNT FOR DRYLINE NOT MIXING
   ACROSS THE PLAINS AS FAST AS MODELS CURRENTLY DEPICT.  AS A
   RESULT...SUBSTANTIAL MID-LEVEL FLOW SHOULD OVERSPREAD THE
   MOIST/BUOYANT WARM SECTOR AND ANOTHER DIURNALLY-INITIATED ROUND OF
   POTENTIALLY TORNADIC SUPERCELLS COULD EVOLVE."

Translation? Somebody's about to seriously mess with this airport. No, wait, that
was John McClane's prediction in "Die Hard 2." Second try, watch for supercells
out west Saturday afternoon in the Panhandles region and then march east with
threats of tornadoes (and hail and straight-line wind, of course). Sunday, it
all depends on where that dryline is, how far it can advance before storms fire
and whatnot, so folks from western Oklahoma through the rest of the state should
keep an eye on the weather that morning. Monday, things SHOULD be east of us. 

Clearing it all up with help from our friends across the hall at the NWS Norman
office:

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/saturday-svr-nws-norman.jpg
http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/sunday-svr-nws-norman.jpg    

Now while everybody else in the NWC is looking at the threats for tornadoes, I'm
licking my chops at the 7-day rainfall forecast. Yes, I'm the dullard that loses
focus in tornadoes (except when EF-5s are roaring through my neighborhood in 
Moore) and thinks "how will this help the drought?". Here's the 7-day moisture
forecast from all of Mother Nature's foolishness. 

http://ticker.mesonet.org/archive/20140423/7day-rainfall-forecast.gif 

That half-inch or less forecast for SW and NW OK just ain't enough this time
of year. Normal for Altus over the next 7 days is 0.7 inches. 

So there you have it, severe weather is indeed on the rise. The time to prepare
for tonight's possible severe weather was yesterday. Same for this weekend. So
do it now. Stay calm, keep your eye on the information from your local NWS office
and media outlet, and stay safe. If severe weather strikes, don't get the urge
to sneak a peek. Ignore that other CCR song:

"Doo, doo, doo, Looking out my back door."

Gary McManus
State Climatologist
Oklahoma Mesonet
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253
gmcmanus@mesonet.org