Last night I showed several models as they tried to get a handle on the amount of rainfall that will occur. Each has their own set of physics and equations that try to do what really can’t be done, but hey they try. The amounts ranged anywhere from 1″ to 23″. That’s a big spread. Even if you took away the outliers, the average for many folks would be 6-8″ of rain which is still catastrophic when it comes to flooding.

So how did we get here? Turns out it’s a perfect setup, a trifecta of ingredients. A cold front will stall across the state while the remnants of a tropical area of low pressure will move from Baja to Oklahoma and N TX. The maps below highlight this. They also show how two ridges of high pressure form in the upper levels of the atmosphere on either side of Oklahoma. Air flows clockwise around highs, so this places us in a null, or dead zone which causes lower heights to form. We simplify this as low pressure to make it understandable. The trough of low pressure now interacts with the cold front and the tropical moisture to go nuts with the rain.

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Tropical energy moving NE.

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Energy trapped across OK/TX in-between two ridges.

Now, do I believe the European model which produces 23″ of rain? No, as I’m sure there is some type of feedback element involved that overestimates the outcome. There simply has to be. 23″ would be unheard of even though this is a rare set of circumstances. Earlier this week I said 2-4″ statewide, no problem. I could see areas of 6-8″ in pockets. Is either OKC or Tulsa included in this higher range? It’s hard to say but certainly within the realm of possibility. I never envisioned more than that though and time will tell if it’s much worse than that.

New data will hopefully shed additional light on the overall outcome, but just prepare for flooding regardless of the actual amounts at the end of the event. Also keep in mind as discussed in my Facebook lives, that depending on where the cold front moves that is your focus for the ridiculous amounts and it could be anywhere from the OKC metro to Ardmore or Ada, etc. It’s a boundary to watch for in real-time and you don’t want to be anywhere near it. -AT

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