Rain back in the forecast

Harvesters are working fast to clear fields ahead of forecast rainfall.

The long drought endured by area farmers ended earlier this month thanks to much-needed rain. Although the rains were needed, they left wheat fields standing in water – just as harvest time was about to start. Luckily, skies cleared about a week ago, and fields started drying under 90-degree temperatures.

Harvesters have been able to get their equipment into the fields and start cutting this week. Initial reports from local elevators are seeing good test weights, proteins and bushels per acre. The worst hit by heavy rains and hail this past month were field crops in the southwest areas of Jackson County. Otherwise, yields are looking good for producers.

Although skies have been clear and optimal for harvesting this week, rain and rain chances have moved back into the area today. Morning commuters saw a spattering of sprinkles on their way to work, with nearby Mangum seeing a good shower first thing today. The forecast was for a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms today. Storm chances drop to 60 percent tomorrow, and 50 percent on Sunday.

Several rounds of thunderstorms are expected throughout the day in Oklahoma. A line of weaker storms will continue to move east over the I35 corridor this morning. Stronger storms will develop later this afternoon and evening, especially across portions of north Texas and Southwest Oklahoma. Storms should gradually weaken overnight, but moderate to heavy rainfall may persist into the morning hours on Saturday.

Storm spotter groups and emergency management personnel across the risk areas are preparing for severe weather operations this afternoon into tonight.

The most widespread thunderstorm activity is likely Saturday through Tuesday, with lesser chances mid to late next week. With adequate instability and moisture, an occasional strong to severe storm will be possible most any day through late next week.

The estimated amount of total rainfall from the forecast rains over the next few days is to be between 3 and 5 inches. Deep moisture will promote heavy rainfall with thunderstorms, especially Saturday through Tuesday. Portions of northern and western Oklahoma, into western north Texas will have the greatest potential of receiving heavy rainfall and flash flooding. A flash flood watch has been issued for these areas through the weekend and may need to be extended into next week.

Thunderstorms continue to be in the forecast for Monday through Wednesday of next week under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s.

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