As expected, winds became quite strong across Oklahoma on Christmas day. Winds gusted to over 50 mph across much of the western half of the state. An area of 58 to 69 mph winds developed over the Clinton area and spread northeastward into Kingfisher County. Winds over 60 mph occurred across the central and western Panhandle. A 59 mph wind gust was observed at Freedom in northwest Oklahoma.
… Potentially catastrophic Hurricane Nicole to strike Bermuda …
Hurricane Nicole has undergone impressive strengthening over the last 24 hours. At 11 pm (Wednesday – October 12, 2016) the storm was centered 180 miles south southwest of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds are 130 mph, making Nicole a category 4 storm. The minimum pressure has dropped to 950 mb. On the current forecast track, the hurricane will be moving almost directly across the island territory on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are now moving into the area and this will make further preparations difficult. Unlike storms that can begin to weaken as they move onshore, the islands of Bermuda will likely have little impact on the storm. Environmental conditions will result in weakening in 36 hours, but damage to the islands will already be done. A storm surge of up to 8 feet will be possible, along with large and destructive waves on top of the surge.
… Nicole a strong Category 2 storm …
… Will be impacting Bermuda on Thursday …
Hurricane Nicole has been quietly organizing over the Atlantic over the last week while Hurricane Matthew was grabbing attention. The hurricane has become quite strong with sustained winds of 100 mph and is located about 295 miles south southwest of Bermuda. The storm will be turning toward the north northeast over the next 24 hours and a direct strike to the small island territory is likely on Thursday. Some strengthening is possible before the hurricane impacts the islands and Nicole could be at category 3 strength by then. There is the potential for significant damage in Bermuda on Thursday.
The atmosphere across the main body of Oklahoma remains moist and will become very unstable this afternoon. There will be an increasing low level jet by evening and moderate west southwest flow will continue to spread across the Plains in the mid-levels.
By late afternoon, thunderstorms are once again expected to develop near an outflow boundary across southern Kansas, and near the western edge of the moist plume from southwest Kansas southward near the Oklahoma/Texas border. In rinse and repeat fashion, favorable shear and instability will lead to some of these storms being severe and supercell storms with all hazards possible.
At the current time, it appears that the greatest risk of supercell storms will be centered over far northwest Oklahoma and adjacent areas of Texas and Kansas.
Another afternoon and evening of severe thunderstorms is expected over portions of the Central and Southern Plains. The greatest risk lies from the southeast corner of Colorado, southeastward across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles to west Texas.
Early this Saturday morning, widespread showers and thunderstorms continue across the panhandles. By daybreak, some of this precipitation will be reaching into western Oklahoma. By then, the severe threat will be low.
Most all model guidance suggests that an arcing dryline extending from low pressure near the western end of the Oklahoma Panhandle to western Texas will be the focus for new storm development by mid afternoon. These storms will be organizing in a deeply sheared environment that has seen an increase in low level moisture over the last 24 hours. Activity that develops in this area of favorable shear and instability will have the potential to rapidly become severe with all severe weather hazards possible. For Oklahoma, the greatest risk of a tornado will be over the Panhandle, as well as small portions of west central and southwest Oklahoma. Isolated severe events will be possible with some of the storms as they approach central Oklahoma by Midnight on Sunday.
Saturday night was special for me. There are not a whole lot of storm chasers on my list that I haven’t met but would like to. Two on the “like to meet” list joined us for dinner in Yukon at Green Chile Kitchen (great food by the way). For those that don’t know me, I’m the only one in the image wearing a ball cap. Sitting to my left is Rocky Rascovich, to my right is Vince Miller. Hank Baker is across the table at the far end. Now Hank, Rocky and Vince I can see almost anytime, but the other two gentlemen are a couple of storm chase pioneers that for whatever reason haven’t crossed my path before. Closest to the camera is Roy Britt. Roy has several decades of chase experience and is known to have one of the largest collection of tornado photos and videos of anyone around. Directly across from me is David Hoadley. David has been called the first storm chaser, and “father” of storm chasing. His first chase came in 1956. That’s not a typo, 1956. When he takes to the road this spring, it will be his 61st season of storm chasing. When we put a pencil to it, we had six (SIX! for my friend, Bill) storm chasers at the table with a combined 223 years of storm chase experience. David and Roy are class acts, and it was a pleasure to sit down with them. It was also nice to catch up and have a bite with the regulars. For what it’s worth, chase season 2016 will be my 35th. I’ve got a ways to go before I catch up with Mr. Hoadley.