Rain Chances Followed by Cooler Temperatures

A strong cold front will push southeastward into Alabama during the afternoon.

We expect to see scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms ahead and along the front.

A few strong storms will be possible, with wind gusts up to 40 mph and locally heavy rainfall the primary threats.

We don’t think instability or shear parameters are high enough for organized severe storms with this system today. We certainly won’t see anything like experienced out west in Oklahoma and Arkansas on Wednesday.

The rain will end tonight as the front exits the state. Drier conditions will return on Friday along with a secondary cold front in the afternoon. This front will provide some cooler air for the weekend as Canadian high pressure dives toward the southeast.

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No March Watches to Date Unprecedented

march-watches

NORMAN, Okla. During a month when severe weather typically strikes, this March has been unusually quiet, with no tornado or severe thunderstorm watches issued by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center so far. And, National Weather Service forecasters see no sign of dramatic change for the next week at least.

“We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather”, said Greg Carbin, SPC’s warning coordination meteorologist. “This has never happened in the record of SPC watches dating back to 1970.”

Since the beginning of 2015, the SPC has issued only four tornado watches and no severe thunderstorm watches, which is less than 10 percent of the typical number of 52 tornado watches issued by mid-March. The approximately 20 tornadoes reported since January 1 is well below the 10-year average of 130 for that time period.

There is no one clear reason to explain the lack of tornadoes, Carbin said. “We’re in a persistent pattern that suppresses severe weather, and the right ingredients — moisture, instability, and lift — have not been brought together in any consistent way so far this year.”

Forecasters expect a change soon, however. April and May are typically the busiest months for severe weather and tornadoes. Patterns can change in a few days, Carbin said, and it’s important to be prepared for severe weather when it occurs.

Analysis of the ten lowest and ten highest watch count years through the middle of March reveals little correlation to the subsequent number of tornadoes through the end of June. For example, early 2012 was particularly active with 77 watches issued through mid-March. The subsequent period through the end of June was unusually quiet for tornadoes with about 130 fewer EF1 and stronger tornadoes occurring than what would normally be expected.

On the other hand, 1984, with a relatively low watch count of 28 through mid-March, became more active and by late June had about 100 EF1 and stronger tornadoes above the long-term mean of 285.

Read more from SPC

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Increasing Moisture

After a dry and very warm start to the week, changes are moving in.

Increasing moisture along with a couple of storm systems will produce rain chances for the rest of the week.

Due to the clouds and rain, we expect temperatures to cool a bit as well.

The 5-day rainfall forecast below indicates the heavier amounts for the southern sections of the state.

5-day-rainfall

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Warmer Weather through Mid-Week

The weather across the state is more like spring with the warmer temperatures over the region.

A few days of dry weather will also help areas of the state to dry out from the wet conditions of late.

We expect daytime highs in the 70’s north and 80’s south through mid-week.

Moisture levels will increase with the next weather system by Wednesday, and the rain chances will be back in the forecast.

The unsettled conditions may hang around a few days, with plenty of clouds, scattered showers and a few thunderstorms.

Temperatures will cool off a few degrees by late week and into the weekend.

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