A very strong storm system will be moving northeastward from the Rockies toward the Northern Plains today. In advance of this system, a very warm and moist air mass has moved northward across Oklahoma. The Midnight temperature Christmas morning in Okarche was 56 degrees. The temperature rose to 65 degrees by 6 am – and the dew point was also 65 degrees! Strong south and southeast winds have been gusting to between 40 and 55 mph across the state. These are conditions that one would expect to find in the middle of May!
The most significant impacts from this storm system are going to remain north of the state. A deep cyclone will be tracking from western Nebraska to southeast North Dakota, bringing full scale blizzard conditions to the Dakotas. As the warm and moist air moves northward, there will be a risk of severe thunderstorms over Kansas and Nebraska.
In Oklahoma, there will also be a low end risk of severe weather this afternoon. A dryline will be moving rapidly eastward across the state today. A narrow line of thunderstorms is expected to form along this feature which will be approaching the Okarche area between 1 and 2 pm. There will be sufficient moisture and low level shear to support a couple of instances of damaging winds with the storms. In addition, any sustained area of rotation along the line would be capable of producing a brief tornado. Even outside of the thunderstorm line, winds will be quite strong across the state today with gusts to 50 mph not uncommon. As dry air moves into western Oklahoma behind the dryline, fire danger will increase to near extreme levels.
For the record…
Thunder has not been recorded in Okarche on Christmas day before.
The record high low temperature of 50 degrees would be set given the low so far this morning of 56 degrees. However, temperatures by Midnight will have fallen into the 40′s which will keep that from occurring.
Also, the record high of 74 degrees is not likely to be reached as temperatures with extensive cloud cover will top out around 70 before precipitation arrives.
All in all, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember weatherwise.
Midnight, December 14, 2016 – 20 Degrees
I stepped outside on a cold night in Okarche and captured an image of a stunning halo around the moon. ”Ring around the moon means rain soon”. That old saying usually holds some truth because the halo is visible through high clouds that often precede weather systems. Not so much in our case. We have been stuck in a dry pattern, but a steady stream of mid and high clouds have been spreading across the Plains.
This optic event is called a 22-degree halo, because the ring has a radius of approximately 22 degrees around the sun or moon. The moon is actually in the dead center of the halo, but appears to be just off centered here due to the effect of the wide angle lens. Halos are caused by both refraction, or splitting of light, and also by reflection of glints of light from ice crystals that make up the high clouds.
… Nicole moving away from Bermuda …
Radar images as the eyewall was arriving:
One observation site reported a period of sustained winds 76 mph with gusts to 103 mph:
Not surprising, there have been very few reports from Bermuda today. There have been reports of roof damage and 26,000 people without power. It may take a couple of days before the full extent of the damage is determined.
… 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.
… Dangerous Category 4 Matthew begins to impact Haiti …
… Forecast track shifted further westward, becomes more of a threat to the U.S. …
The central pressure of Hurricane Matthew has fallen to 934 mb this evening – the lowest thus far recorded with the storm. Maximum sustained winds remain around 145 mph. Hurricane Warnings continue for Haiti and eastern Cuba, as well as many islands across the central and southern Bahamas. Warnings will likely need to be extended northwestward across the Bahamas during the next 24 hours.
Forecast upper level steering winds have changed over the last 24 hours, resulting in the track guidance shifting westward. There is now a very real possibility of hurricane conditions impacting portions of eastern Florida by Thursday, and the Carolina’s by Saturday. Any further shift west to the forecast track could lead to a direct impact to Florida and or South/North Carolina. While some decrease in strength is likely by the Thursday-Saturday time frame, Matthew is likely to still be a strong hurricane.
Tropical Storm and/or Hurricane watches and warnings may be required for portions of Florida during the next 24 hours.
Hurricane Matthew is a compact but powerful category 4 storm this evening. The hurricane is located about 265 miles south southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and is moving to the northwest at 5 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph, and the minimum pressure is remaining around 945 mb.
Through Tuesday, Matthew is expected to move slowly north northwest, resulting in significant impacts to portions of Cuba and Haiti. By late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the storm will be affecting the central and southern Bahamas. It is much too early to tell, but not out of the question if and to what degree Matthew could have on the east coast late in the week and next weekend.
… Hurricane Matthew remains powerful category 4 storm …
Hurricane Matthew is located about 360 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica this evening, moving to the north northwest at 7 mph. Minimum pressure is 940 mb and maximum sustained winds are around 150 mph.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jamaica, and Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Haiti from east of Le Mole St. Nicholas to the northern border with the Dominican Republic, and Cuba from Camaguey province to Guantanamo province. A Hurricane Watch will likely be needed for portions of the Bahamas on Sunday.
The track forecast of Matthew has shifted slightly east over the last 24 hours. While the threat to Florida through Wednesday has lessened, it has not been completely removed. Regardless of the eventual track, gusty east or northeast winds and disturbed seas will likely be observed along the east coast of Florida and the Carolina’s during the coming week. After Wednesday, while too early to say for certain, at least some threat will exist from the Carolina’s northward along the eastern coast.
Defying all model guidance, Hurricane Matthew has continued to strengthen this evening and has become a category 5 storm. This is the first category 5 in the Atlantic basin in almost 10 years. Hurricane Felix became a cat 5 storm in 2007.
Matthew now has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph with a minimum central pressure of 941 mb. While the intensity guidance has been less than stellar, the forecast track has remained consistent with little change in the official forecast. Matthew will likely be a major hurricane when it approaches the eastern part of Jamaica on Monday.
Hurricane Matthew has rapidly intensified today reaching category 4 strength. The storm is located about 465 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and is moving to the west southwest at 9 mph. Maximum sustained winds are now near 140 mph. The central pressure has fallen to 949 mb – which is an astounding 44 mb drop over the last 24 hours.
There have been no significant changes regarding the previously discussed forecast track, but the storm is obviously much stronger than anticipated. A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Jamaica, and it appears that the powerful hurricane will be near the eastern tip of the island by Monday afternoon.