Augtember? - Oklahoma Skies

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 9:08AM CDT


See what I did there? No? Don't judge my craftiness! Not gonna lie, I totally ripped that title from someone else haha! Mother nature seemingly has skipped August and gone right into September. The first day of the new month brought temperatures some 15-20 degrees below normal making for one of the coolest starts to the month on record! June and July are typically some of Oklahoma's wettest months of the year and they left much to be desired in the rainfall department. Take a look at these 60 day rainfall totals.

What's wrong with this picture? If you're wondering why or how parts of the Oklahoma panhandle has seen more rain than Oklahoma City in the last couple of months, then we are on the same page! Much of western and central Oklahoma has missed out on any meaningful rain and the end result has been a rapidly developing/intensifying flash drought. Drought and heat typically go hand in hand and many of these areas have been over the 100 degree mark multiple times this summer.

Sure is a lot of brown on that map! Many areas are some 20-40% of normal precipitation for June and July. Not a good thing considering this is typically when we receive a good portion of our yearly rainfall! Check out the far western OK panhandle with more than 180% of their normal precip! Bet they're enjoying that!

It's no surprise that in the areas where rainfall has been scarce, the drought has made a fast appearance. In the last couple weeks the drought has intensified pretty rapidly. This is partially due to the hot and dry stretch of weather, save for a few pop up storms, we had during the last week or so of July. As I said drought and heat feed off of each other. We had a nice bout of rain the other day with parts of the drought stricken areas receiving a good dousing. This wasn't reflected in the latest drought monitor as data for the week ends each Tuesday. We may see small changes next week. 

The good news, is that the pattern has undergone a favorable shift to bring rain and cooler weather to the southern plains for at least the next couple of weeks. Broad high pressure that is usually referred to as the 'summer heat dome' has shifted to the west. Troughing has developed over the northern and eastern conus, and this will suppress the heat dome and allow storm systems and associated cold fronts to enter our area. 

Because of this, the CPC has outlooked much of the central U.S. to experience below normal temperatures and above normal precip for the month of August. Some areas across the southern plains could receive several inches or more of rain as we go through time. This will definitely alleviate drought concerns. 

Another interesting thing to note is that the differential pressures across the U.S, and offshore waters will likely promote tropical development very close to home in the coming weeks. Similar to what was seen with recent tropical storm Emily. It's all about pattern feedback. Lower pressures over the offshore waters will compensate for the higher pressures on land. Allowing for more disturbed weather in the tropics. We'll see. 


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