Spring is ahead of schedule
According to the Spring Leaf Index from the National Phenology Network, Spring has arrived early to many areas across the southern half of the United States. In many cases, up to 3 weeks early. The Spring Leaf Index is "measure of early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions." Many plants and trees in Oklahoma are already turning green thanks to our recent stretch of above normal temperatures that started at the end of January. On February 18th, records fell across the state as temperatures soared into the upper 80s and 90s. Tulsa set a record with 86 degrees while the record for the hottest winter temperature in Oklahoma was recorded in Mangum at a sweltering 99 degrees.
We are likely to finish out February on a warm note. Near-record heat is expected by later this week as 80s return to the area.
In the extended forecast, colder temperatures try to move back in at the beginning of March but any cool down will be brief as the overall pattern supports warmer weather.