Tuesday, October 2, 2017 provided an excellent example of why meteorologists turn to dewpoint temperature to get a better picture of moisture in the air. Relative humidity is a good index to monitor drying potential, disease potential, or fire risk, but relative humidity is relative to the air temperature. When the air temperature changes, the relative humidity changes. Dewpoint temperature is an absolute measure of water vapor, independent of air temperature.
As relative humidities drop, standing, dead plant stems dry out. Dense, dead, dry grasses were the primary fuel source for the devastating fires that flared up on March 6, 2017 in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. This article is part two of a three part series. It covers the relative humidity conditions in Oklahoma leading into this horrendous fire day.
March kicked off with relative humidities unusually low across Oklahoma. Continue reading