OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The first day of spring saw temperatures in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas that broke or tied several high-temperature records, including four that were more than a century old.
The National Weather Service said it was 92 degrees in Tulsa and 90 in Harrison, Arkansas, on Monday, tying records set in 1907. And 92-degree readings in Lubbock, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma broke records of 90 degrees in Lubbock and 91 in Lawton, both set in 1916.
"We've got a very large ridge of high pressure in the central U.S. ... pulling in dry hot air from the desert southwest," said Jonathan Kurtz, a meteorologist with the weather service in Norman, Oklahoma. "It's a little uncharacteristic for it to be this warm, this early."
Meteorologist Jeff Vitale in Lubbock agreed, saying there is no way to predict what will happen from year to year
"Some years are warm, some years are cool," Vitale said. "It (this year) is an anomalous pattern."
Other records include 92 degrees in Dallas to break the record of 91 set in 1932; 84 degrees in Houston broke the 1980 record of 83; and 85 degrees in Fayetteville, Arkansas, broke the 2011 record of 79 degrees.
Kurtz said residents should be careful in the warm weather, especially since winter just ended, even though it was a warm winter.
"It's not oppressive heat, but it might catch people off guard," Kurtz said. "Some people are not aware that it might be hot for a change."
Kurtz said an approaching low pressure system should provide milder temperatures from mid-week through the weekend, with daytime highs expected in the 60s and 70s by Wednesday, in the 70s and lower 80s on Thursday, and back into the 60s and 70s by Friday and throughout the weekend.
Thunderstorms are also possible Thursday and Friday, Kurtz said, mainly east of the Interstate 35 corridor.