Rare August Tornadoes! - Oklahoma Skies

Posted on August 7, 2017 at 10:41am CDT

A powerful quasi linear convective system(QLCS) brought severe weather and flooding rains to much of Oklahoma overnight Saturday into very early Sunday morning. Several embedded eddies/mesovorticies along the leading edge of the line spawned several brief but rather strong tornadoes in and around the Tulsa area. One of the tornadoes caused EF-2 damage to portions of midtown Tulsa along 41st and memorial. Dozens of injuries were reported as well due to flying debris and the rather abrupt nature of the tornado. A second tornado touched down near Broken Arrow producing EF-1 damage, not far from the first touchdown. There was also a third tornado reported near Oologah with EF-1 damage. 

Unfortunately with systems like the one Saturday night, it's very hard to give much if any advanced warning with sudden/brief spin ups that are not uncommon along the leading edges of some storm complexes. These tornadoes are not like your typical supercell tornado where forecasters are able to pinpoint and give longer lead times. These tornadoes usually develop very quickly and don't last long at all. A lot of times by the time a warning is issued, these tornadoes are long gone. What makes it worse is this event happened at night and it's even MORE difficult to see them. It's unfortunate that people were injured/caught off guard and this is why we stress the importance of being weather aware during any severe storms. 

Only two other tornadoes have been recorded in the Tulsa area during the month of August. We had one on August 7, 1955(EF-1) and another on August 20, 1958(EF-2).

Elsewhere it was mostly beneficial rainfall. Some places in Kay and Osage counties received well over 5" of rain in a short time! Hugo in the southeast part of the state received over 7" of rain! That's a lot of water in a small time frame! Obviously some flash flooding resulted. At the casa in Norman, it got noisy and we picked up a solid inch. Definitely much needed. 

Generally stormy weather will continue for the foreseeable future as the pattern remains in a favorable position for storms to develop across the central and southern high plains and move south and east across the state during the late day/overnight periods. This is a pattern more typical of June/early July but mother nature doesn't care about dates and times. Broad high pressure will remain positioned to our south and west keeping the hottest conditions with it. Flow around the periphery of this high pressure will bring subtle impulses in the jet stream that will provide lift needed for storms to form combined with afternoon heat and humidity. The extra cloud cover/precip and occasional frontal boundaries will keep temperatures about 10-15 degrees below seasonal normals with highs generally in the mid to upper 80s most days. It will be humid though! 

We briefly touched on the tropics in the last post, and they appear to be heating up! We have tropical storm(and possibly our eventual first hurricane of the Atlantic season) Franklin eyeing the Yucatan. Another area of disturbed weather midway between the Cabo Verde islands and the Lesser Antilles will need to be monitored for tropical cyclone development in the future. Some of the long range models have been suggesting possible monkey business along the east coast later on. 

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