Dangerous heat through Saturday, rain and cooler temperatures next week
A record low temperature for Ardmore set on Tuesday morning seems like a distant memory as high dew points create uncomfortable and dangerously high temperatures for the end of the work week. Relief is expected this weekend but cooler temperatures are expected to create hazardous weather further north in Oklahoma.
Heat indices in Ardmore on Thursday and Friday were expected reach triple digits again behind a cold front that moved through earlier in the week. Ryan Bunker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, said it is unusual for cold fronts to extend this far south at this time of year.
As a result of the most recent cold front, Ardmore dipped to a record low 59 degrees on Tuesday morning but the low temperature and humidity was short lived. By Thursday afternoon, temperatures reached into the low 90s and a dew point in the mid 70s pushed the heat index over 100 degrees.
“When we transitioned out of that cool front, then we were getting pretty strong southerly winds. It’s just bringing that moisture back in from the Gulf of Mexico,” Bunker said.
On Friday, Ardmore is expected to see high temperatures again in the mid 90s with south winds gusting up to 23 mph. The heat index is expected to again cross the 100 degree mark.
The excessive heat and humidity are having an impact on utility companies. Even though energy usage is up in recent weeks, the increase is nothing unexpected for power providers.
“We always make sure we’re prepared for increased usage going into June, July, August. Those are the heavy use months,” said David Kimmel, a spokesperson for OG&E, adding that the increased energy usage is nothing unusual.
“It’s probably somewhat normal. I think we’ve had a little bit more humidity this year than in years past, but I don’t think we’re abnormal,” he said of local energy usage.
Another cold front will move through Oklahoma over the weekend and lead to rain, thunderstorms and potential flooding across the state. Southern Oklahoma has recovered from drought conditions earlier this year but portions of western Oklahoma remain under moderate or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday.
Forecasts place most of the severe weather over the weekend in northern Oklahoma but Ardmore can expect a marginal threat of flash flooding on Saturday.
Western states are dealing with an extreme heat wave and huge swaths of land from California to Utah to New Mexico are dealing with exceptional drought conditions. Areas of the Pacific Northwest this week have broken 70-year-old record high temperatures.
Behind the cold front that will move through Oklahoma over the weekend, Ardmore can expect high temperatures next week to drop into the 80s. Until then, Bunker said to use caution in the heat and humidity on Friday.
“I think the worst part of it is how muggy it is. I mean when you get mid- to upper-70s dew points, it’s literally the air you can wear.”