We have got the hard freeze behind us this morning. Not only did the temperature in Okarche drop to 24 degrees which set a record for the date (28 degrees was the previous record set in 2008), but we stayed below freezing for 9 hours and 25 minutes – from 12:26 am to 9:51 am. Yesterday, the low temperature reached 32 degrees which was 7 days earlier than our average first freeze, but it didn’t qualify as a hard freeze. This morning did, and anything left outside that was vulnerable to a freeze likely got bit. Other low temperatures of note this morning include 22 degrees at El Reno, and the state’s coldest of 17 degrees at Beaver.
And then there’s Sandy. Sandy is going to be a pain for a lot of people. The media is already all over this storm being the next “superstorm”. Instead of being a superstorm, this may very well just be a hurricane that strikes the east coast. It appeared that the storm was starting to weaken overnight, and working it’s way toward being post-tropical. This morning, Sandy regained hurricane strength and the National Hurricane Center is now forecasting the system to remain a hurricane until landfall. At any rate, the storm is likely to be a strong one when it approaches Delaware on Monday. There will be strong winds, large waves, and likely a tidal surge which will reach well inland. As it becomes post-tropical, it will remain a deep low pressure area tracking up through Pennsylvania and New York. But a superstorm? When I think of superstorm, I am reminded of “1991 Perfect Storm”, or the “1993 Superstorm” – all of which had extremely low pressures, high winds, large waves, and in some cases, very heavy snowfall and tornadoes. Time will tell if Sandy results in the paralyzing affects that the previously mentioned storms have had, but I usually wait until the event has happened before I give it a name.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we now seem to be getting a handle on what the weather will be like on Halloween. For several days, we were bouncing around solutions which ranged from mild to blustery with precipitation. It now appears that it will be quite nice with a high in the 70′s dropping into the 50′s at showtime. The backyard haunted house is a go!
By the way, another significant freeze is expected tonight in central Oklahoma…
The roller coaster month of October continues. After starting out the month setting numerous low record temperatures, we are rolling through an extended period of setting high record temperatures. After the first couple of weeks of the month, it appeared that we would have one of the coolest October’s ever. Now, after having several days where the average temperature has been as much as 20 degrees above normal, the average temperature is slightly above normal for the month. This will all come to a sudden halt Thursday when a strong cold front blasts through the state. Not only will we see temperatures dropping below normal, but it will not be out of the question to be setting record lows again this weekend. Unfortunately, this system approaching from the northwest will not be bringing significant rainfall.
On the topic of rainfall, we are currently on pace to be the driest year of record here in Okarche. The current total stands at 21.25 inches. Our October total has only been 0.75 of an inch, and with little in the way of significant rainfall seen during the next week, it is doubtful we will add much to that. This will mean that October will be the 5th consecutive month where we have had below normal precipitation. The record for the least precipitation in a year in Okarche is 25.60 inches set in 2001. Given the fact that November and December are typically two of our four driest months, the prospects don’t look good for making up the 4.35 inches to keep this from being a record breaking year.
The bad news goes further. The latest outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center show better than average chances at above normal temperatures for nearly every month until the start of 2014! Only a couple of months during that same period even hint at above normal precipitation. If these outlooks hold true, a massive area of severe drought over the Plains could continue for at least another year.
On the tropical weather front, Sandy is very nearly a hurricane this morning about 120 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica. The storm is moving to the north and will cross over eastern Cuba before ending up in the Bahamas early on Thursday. The storm, or hurricane depending on its strength, will wobble dangerously close to the Florida east coast before turning and accelerating northeastward while losing tropical characteristics. Before the turn, large ocean swells, and tropical storm force winds are likely to batter portions of Florida. Currently, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast from Jupiter Inlet to Ocean Reef… Florida Upper Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key… and Florida Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch may be required for portions of east-central Florida later this morning.
The latest guess on Halloween weather in Okarche points toward mild, but unsettled conditions with a chance of showers and gusty winds.
The forecast map below is for daybreak Thursday showing the strong cold front moving through the state, and “Sandy” pushing toward the central Bahamas.
Remodel Phase One… has started at the Ewoldt household. This is sort of a jump start on a whole slew of things to come over the next year or so. We are currently taking an extra room and joining it with our daughter’s bedroom to give her the room she will need as she approaches high school/university. In several steps, we will be putting down new flooring, remodeling the kitchen, office, master bedroom, adding driveway, landscape, replacing doors, roof, heat/air….basically, the full monty. But for now, I wade through a mix of furniture, clothes, and whatever else can be piled in the office to get to the computer for weather information…. as we know, the show must go on.
And what a show it was. After a morning low of 63 degrees, the high temperature reached 90 degrees on the 21st. This not only broke the old record of 89 degrees set in 2004, but marks the latest in the year we have ever hit 90 degrees. In addition, the low of 63 degrees was the warmest low temperature on the date… breaking the old record of 61 degrees set in 2001.
Sitting outside this evening looking for a rogue Orionid meteor was very comfortable in short sleeves with a temperature in the mid 70′s.
The Orionids have started! I decided to take a quick viewing session this morning just after 7 am, and saw two Orionids streaking across the sky. Given the fact that we had already passed dawn and sunrise was approaching, these were probably a couple of fairly bright meteors. The sun had all but wiped out the Constellation Orion. This gives hope for the next couple of days as we should ramp up the frequency tonight (after midnight and to sunrise Saturday) – before peaking (after midnight to sunrise Sunday).
The forecast is a pretty good one. Both nights we won’t be dealing with a moon to interfere. During the early morning hours on Saturday, there should only be a few scattered clouds around. Sunday morning may be a different story as what might start out a clear night now shows indications of increasing clouds by daybreak. So, the best time to view might be tonight into tomorrow morning.
Bring a jacket or blanket to stay comfortable, it might take an hour or so to see about 20 meteors. However, there have already been reports of some amazing fireballs.
When you get 10 to 16 days down the road, the weather forecast will jump around considerably. A round of showers and thunderstorms from late Sunday into Monday will clear out and a strong cold front will be approaching on Thursday the 25th. It appears that there will be a secondary surge of cold air on Friday the 26th. It doesn’t appear that we will be completely rid of the cool air by the 31st. Plus, there will be a couple of upper air systems in the area. So, the updated Halloween forecast calls for cool conditions with a chance of showers. Last year, we were able to take advantage of drought and have about 1/2 of the backyard haunted house outside. Mud would be an issue if it rains, so the current building process is keeping most of the attractions inside this year.
Sometimes it’s good to be wrong on a forecast. Leading up to this last Saturday, conditions appeared to be favorable for significant severe weather events in Oklahoma, including the chance at tornadoes. Several parameters ended up evolving as expected, but there was obviously a failure. Looking back, it’s hard to figure out exactly the fail reason, but at least we are not picking up the pieces from a big event. There did end up being several high wind reports over the southeast half of the state, but tornado events were limited to Texas, northwest Arkansas, and southwest Missouri. The two day rainfall total in Okarche was 0.72 of an inch. Some places in Oklahoma City saw between 2 ½ and 3 ½ inches of rain. Oilton in Creek County was the big winner with 4.62 inches of rain.
Construction has started on the backyard haunted house. At this point it is a VERY long range forecast, but it appears that the weather pattern will be an active one at the end of the month with the potential of a very strong storm system in the Plains around Halloween. Weather conditions will be quite different depending on which side of the storm we fall on October 31st. At this point, I am calling for windy with a chance of showers. Mild temperatures falling to the blustery side of things by evening.
…Significant severe event, including the possibility of tornadoes expected on Saturday…
This morning, scattered showers and thunderstorms continue across Oklahoma. Thunderstorms overnight produced heavy rainfall from the Woodward area southeastward into Oklahoma City, as well as across a large part of northeast Oklahoma. As of 10:45 am, 0.60 of an inch of rain had fallen in Okarche. Radar rainfall estimates show that over three inches of rain may have fallen in southern Major County. Also overnight, tornado warnings were issued in Arizona and New Mexico.
These storms are located in advance of a strong upper storm system that is currently located over southern California. This system will move east through today and tonight, entering the Plains on Saturday. In response, a surface low pressure area will take shape near the northwest corner of the state. In typical springlike fashion, there will be a dryline extending southward from the low into southwest Texas. A surface front will extend northeastward into western Iowa.
Low level moisture will be seasonably high across a large area east of the front and dryline. While numerous showers and thunderstorms may initially act to limit instability, it is expected that most of the warm sector will become sufficiently unstable during the afternoon hours to support organized severe thunderstorms. The mode of convection is currently in question. Widespread strong lifting will likely result in bands or clusters of thunderstorms. Given the degree of deep layer shear and moisture/instability, these storms will likely produce large hail and damaging winds. In addition, supercell structure is likely, especially with any discrete storms that are able to form. Low level wind and thermodynamic profiles support tornado production with these types of storms.
Evidence of a major outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will not be able to be seen until a few hours leading up to the event. There are many parameters that will have to be monitored Saturday morning and afternoon for signs that could occur. However, it’s not out of the question and in fact, each model run supports it more and more.
Everyone living in Oklahoma should remain alert on Saturday for the potential of rounds of thunderstorms capable of producing all facets of severe weather. Large hail, damaging winds and large and damaging tornadoes will all be possible. Some large cities in Oklahoma at threat Saturday include: Lawton, Enid, Oklahoma City, Stillwater, and Tulsa.
The low temperature in Okarche this morning reached 33 degrees. Had we trimmed off another degree, this would have set a record for the earliest freeze of record. The current record remains at October 8, 2000 when the temperature dropped to 32 degrees. Freezing temperatures did cover a good part of northern Oklahoma… making it into the extreme northern parts of Kingfisher, Logan and Blaine Counties. In addition, hard freezes were noted in portions of Dewey, Ellis, Woodward, Woods, Major, Grant, and Creek Counties. The coldest temperature in the state was recorded at Seiling where the low dropped to 26 degrees. More frost and freezing temperatures will be possible in the state tonight.