You’ve probably seen the chatter on social media about how warm February is looking for the Southern Plains. Indeed, February looks to be a rather warm month by and large. But what there hasn’t been much talk of is how that could mean an earlier than usual storm season kickoff. February severe weather events are not uncommon, but is that what’s on tap this month?
The map above shows today’s outlook (Feb 6) of instability in Oklahoma. There’s actually a lot of instability building along what is essentially our first substantial dryline of the year.
However, a very strong cap is going to likely keep storm development at bay along that dryline today, despite the presence of some upper level lifting. Getting storms to form isn’t always that easy to come by.
Temperatures for February
Its always too early to write winter weather off completely in February, as March is responsible for some big systems historically on the Southern Plains.
But it isn’t too early to say that warm, springlike weather will be the rule and not the exception this month.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see there’s a common trend here.
The CPC is projecting very high confidence above normal temperatures — which means 60s-80s in the region much of this next month.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be *some* cool weather, but if a week sees temperatures on most days above versus below average, that means the outlook verifies.
Thus far, there’s nothing to indicate anything too cold is coming this month. The coldest temperatures over the next couple of weeks will probably be in the 50s for highs.
So Its Going to Be Warm, So Storms?
Just because it’s warm doesn’t mean storms are coming too. In fact, February into Early April are notorious for dry and warm days. That usually leads to critical fire wx conditions. Today is one example:
You also have days like today where a dryline does set up, but due to strong capping, storms are simply unable to form.
Right now it appears the first 1/2 of the month will be drier than normal — which in February usually means bone dry.
However, there are signs that we could move to a more normal to even wetter pattern late month with continued warmth.
That doesn’t mean storms for sure — but it does mean the pattern may certainly support that possibility more readily than it does now.
Some Storm Chances Heading Into This Weekend?
One possibility of storms in the next week is a system which is forecast to eject out this weekend.
However, models do show limited instability and a strong cap once again. While we’ll need to watch this weekend’s system for chase potential, the odds are somewhat higher that we’ll likely not be chasing anything.
So An Early Storm Season or No?
Right now, it looks like enough moisture will be around that saying there won’t be a system with severe weather in the region this month is foolish. You could realistically make the case either way at this point.
It does appear that cold won’t have a major grip on us, so getting enough moisture and lift in the region will be the big key through February and into March to seeing if we can get some severe weather.
Beyond just storms, all signs are pointing to a severe fire weather season from now until vegetation greens up. Fuels are especially dry — so any days with warm temps, low humidities, and strong winds will be very favorable for rapid wildfire growth.