Welcome to this week’s OU Nightly Weekly Weather Watch!
Spring is finally starting to live up to its reputation. For Tuesday, April 12, 2022, Norman, Oklahoma, is included in a Slight Risk of severe thunderstorms issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). The main threats if thunderstorms do pop up will be gusty wind, large hail, and an isolated tornado or two.
If these storms form and make their way to Norman, Oklahoma, they will move in during the late evening hours.
When this strong storm system moves through, the temperatures will plummet into the upper 60s for Wednesday, April 13, 2022. However, the high temperatures will begin to climb back into the 80s by Friday, April 15, 2022. From there, the temperatures will drop back down into the 60s by Monday, April 18, 2022.
Fire weather conditions have increased dramatically for the beginning of this week.
For Tuesday, April 12, 2022, and Wednesday, April 13, 2022, the Storm Prediction Center has issued an Extreme Risk of wildfires. This Extreme Risk covers most of southwestern Kansas, the panhandle of Oklahoma, and most of northwestern Texas.
Because of this heightened risk, several NWS Offices in the region have issued Red Flag Warnings and High Wind Warnings. The Red Flag Warnings extend all the way from southern Texas through Oklahoma and Kansas to northern Nebraska.
Along with the Red Flag Warnings, the High Wind Warnings extend from New Mexico to western Kansas.
The heightened wildfire risk is due to temperatures ranging from the 70s to 90s winds gusting anywhere from 25-80 mph, and extraordinarily low relative humidity values in the teens
However, this wildfire risk does go down slightly by Thursday, April 14, 2022, once this strong storm system passes through. The relief from the fire weather does not last long, however, which near critical wildfire conditions returning by Friday, April 15, 2022, and growing worse as the weekend approaches.
As mentioned above, spring is showing its true colors this week.
For Tuesday, April 12, 2022, the SPC has issued a Moderate Risk for severe thunderstorms for the majority of northwestern Iowa. All modes of severe weather are possible, including several tornadoes, of which a few could be EF2 or stronger, large hail ranging from the size of golf balls or larger, and damaging wind gusts up to 60-70 mph.
Outside of the Moderate Risk, there are two regions of Enhanced Risk, one ranging from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri and another in north-central Texas. These regions may experience a couple tornadoes, golf ball-sized hail, and gusty winds up to 70 mph.
However, those areas are not the only ones with a chance of severe thunderstorms. Much of the central US, extending from Minnesota all the way down to Texas and Louisiana, are in a Slight Risk. The same threats are possible (tornadoes, large hail, gusty winds), but the likelihood of those threats is lower.
Moving into Wednesday, April 13, 2022, the severe threat moves over to the Mississippi River Valley. A Moderate Risk spans from the border of Illinois and Indiana to northern Louisiana. The main threats will be strong tornadoes, large hail, and gusty winds.
Like Tuesday’s, April 12, 2022, risk levels, the same applies for Wednesday, April 13, 2022, with an Enhanced Risk and Slight Risk surrounding the Moderate Risk. The same general threats of tornadoes, large hail, and gusty winds, apply to these regions dealing with the lower likelihood of severe weather. The image below shows how expansive the threat for severe weather is.
Tornadoes and hail are not the only modes of severe weather happening this week.
Winter weather is making a comeback with Blizzard Warnings in effect for most of North Dakota until the afternoon on Thursday, April 14, 2022. According to the NWS Office in Bismarck, North Dakota, “heavy snow and blizzard conditions expected [with] total snow accumulations between 12 and 24 inches, with locally higher amounts up to 30 inches possible [and] winds gusting as high as 50 mph.” These gusty winds and blowing snow will make for hazardous driving conditions.
North Dakota is not the only state dealing with winter weather. Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado all have Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories in effect until the afternoon on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. According to the NWS Office in Billings, Montana, “snowfall totals will only range from 1 and 3 inches.