Category Archives: Upcoming Winter Weather Events

Dangerous Ice Storm – January 13-15, 2017 (9:08 pm Thu, Jan 12)

* Major ice storm possible over northwest Oklahoma

* Significant icing possible across the Oklahoma City metro

While the general forecast reasoning hasn’t changed much, there are some details which continue to become clearer.  Freezing temperatures are now expected in and around Oklahoma City for the entire day on Friday.  Precipitation is expected to develop over the next six hours across southern Oklahoma.  This will be spreading northward through Friday afternoon.  Freezing rain is likely to result in some significant travel and power issues across an area from Anadarko and Chickasha – northeastward across the metro area – to Stillwater, Pawnee, Pawhuska and Bartlesville.   The heaviest of this precipitation should be coming to an end by late Friday afternoon, but light precipitation with further accumulation will be possible into Saturday.

From late Friday into Saturday morning, heavy freezing rain will develop over northwest Oklahoma and continue into Sunday morning.  It now appears that severe icing will be possible across the Arnett, Woodward, Buffalo, Fairview, and Alva areas.  Total freezing rain could approach one inch resulting in extreme damage to the power grid.

All the standard advisories apply.  People across the northwest 2/3′s of Oklahoma should wrap up preparations soon.  Travel will be discouraged and a large number of people / especially across northwest Oklahoma / are likely to be without power for an extended period of time.

Upcoming Winter Storm January 13-15, 2017 (6:02 pm Tue, Jan 10)

Confidence is growing this evening with some details concerning the storm system that will be affecting the state this weekend.

1. Precipitation will be widespread – and heavy for January.  The air mass over the state during the event will be unseasonably moist.  One to two inches of rainfall can be expected almost statewide.  While hard to narrow down, several model sources signal as much as three to four inches of rain.  The most likely area for this to occur will be across the southeast half of the state.  Flooding could become an issue.

2. Precipitation types.  The depth of the cold air will be very shallow, limiting the precipitation type to rain – freezing rain where temperatures are below freezing.  There may be a little snow or sleet fall over far northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle, but any amounts should be light.

3. Impact.  While this does not appear to be a widespread catastrophic event, some places may see enough ice accumulation to result in travel problems and power outages.  The greatest risk for this to occur will be north of a line from Hollis to Hobart to Yukon to Pawhuska.  There will still be a zone a little farther to the southeast of this area that is at risk of at least some icing.  This includes Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.  A little ice can go a long way, so these areas may also experience some travel issues and power disruptions.

4. Modification / warming.  It appears that temperatures will be warming on Sunday due to several processes, which will allow conditions to improve.  Just how much is still uncertain, and some areas – especially near the Kansas border may stay below freezing into Sunday morning.   Should the cold surface air mass be able to stay below freezing, the severity of the storm will increase.

5.   A risk of severe thunderstorms.  Enough warm air may be able to work northward across the southeast half of the state on Sunday, increasing instability sufficiently to support a low end risk of severe thunderstorms.  Isolated occurrences of damaging wind and hail will be possible.

By Monday the 16th, showers and thunderstorms with a low end risk of severe thunderstorms will be possible during the first part of the day over far eastern Oklahoma.  Meanwhile, snow chances will increase over the central and western parts of the Panhandle.

From a meteorological standpoint, this will be a fascinating event to watch unfold.  For those affected by freezing rain or severe weather – not so much, but the rain will be very welcome.  Wednesday will be another day of very nice weather that people should use to prepare for the upcoming storm – especially those living across the northwest half of the state.

 

Upcoming Winter Storm January 13-16, 2017 (1:11 am Tue, Jan 10)

* Significant impact storm

* All precipitation types possible

* Flooding rainfall possible

“Possible” – it’s a word that will be used frequently over the next several days before the details become clearer.  Nice weather is in store for the state Monday through Thursday.  Gusty southwest winds will help elevate temperatures into the 60′s and 70′s on Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in elevated fire weather conditions – especially across western Oklahoma.  People across the state should use the upcoming nice weather to prepare for the winter storm expected this weekend.

Cold air will begin to spread southward across Oklahoma during the morning hours of Thursday.  Meanwhile, a deep trough of low pressure will be approaching from the west.  Not surprisingly, this far out, discrepancies exist among model data concerning the storm.

Widespread precipitation is looking like a certainty.  Given the cold air that is expected to be in place, winter precipitation will be part of the mix.  Forecast soundings show a wide variety of precipitation types possible – ranging from mostly rain over the southeast half of Oklahoma to mostly snow across the Panhandle.  In between – and this covers a large area – everything from rain and freezing rain to sleet and snow will be possible.  A worst case scenario could paint a narrow zone of freezing rain resulting in dangerous travel, downed tree limbs and power lines, and extended power outages.  It is impossible at this time to try and narrow down where this may occur, and the event may need to start unfolding before it becomes clear.

The long duration of precipitation will also lead to flooding rainfall – especially across southeast Oklahoma.  However, widespread heavy rain is likely to fall across almost the entire body of the state.

The forecast will change – daily.  State residents are advised to keep informed and use the nice weather to prepare for the winter storm – this includes testing generators which could be required during or after the event.

Upcoming Winter Storm January 13-16, 2017 (1:06 am Mon, Jan 9)

* Significant impact storm

* All precipitation types possible

* Flooding rainfall possible

* Precipitation may extend into Tuesday

“Possible” – it’s a word that will be used frequently over the next several days before the details become clearer.  Nice weather is in store for the state Monday through Thursday.  Gusty southwest winds will help elevate temperatures into the 60′s and 70′s on Wednesday, resulting in elevated or critical fire weather conditions – especially across western Oklahoma.  People across the state should use the upcoming nice weather to prepare for the winter storm expected this weekend.

Cold air will begin to spread southward across Oklahoma during the afternoon hours of Thursday.  Meanwhile, a deep trough of low pressure will be approaching from the west.  Not surprisingly, this far out, discrepancies exist among model data concerning the storm.

Widespread precipitation is looking more and more likely.  Given the cold air that is expected to be in place, winter precipitation will be part of the mix.  Forecast soundings show a wide variety of precipitation types possible – ranging from mostly rain over southeast Oklahoma to mostly snow across the Panhandle.  In between – and this covers a very large area – everything from rain and freezing rain to sleet and snow will be possible.  A worst case scenario could paint a narrow zone of freezing rain resulting in dangerous travel, downed tree limbs and power lines, and extended power outages.  It is impossible at this time to try and narrow down where this may occur, and the event may need to start unfolding before it becomes clear.

The long duration of precipitation could also lead to flooding rainfall – especially across southeast Oklahoma.

The forecast will change – daily.  State residents are advised to keep informed and use the nice weather to prepare for the winter storm – this includes testing generators which could be required during or after the event.

Oklahoma snow – January 6, 2017

A cold arctic air mass has settled in across Oklahoma.   As of 7:30 pm on Thursday the 5th, temperatures were below freezing across the entire state.  Teens were common across the northwest half of Oklahoma and single digit temperatures were observed over the western Panhandle.

Strong westerly mid-level flow extends across the country, with a wave organizing over the Great Basin.  This trough will be moving quickly across Oklahoma on Friday.  Strong lifting is already generating snow across Colorado and northern New Mexico, and snow will begin spreading into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles during the next few hours.

After Midnight, west to east bands of snow will begin spreading across the main body of Oklahoma.   At least some snow accumulation will be possible across most of the state – the exceptions being portions of northeast and far southeast Oklahoma.  Snow banding is likely to become established across portions of western and central Oklahoma.  The greatest potential for this to occur / leading to an extended period of moderate snow / is along and just either side of a line from Elk City to Norman.  Localized areas where an enhanced snow band is able to set up may see over six inches of snow.

In Okarche, 1-3 inches of snow is likely, but the potential exists for amounts to fall to either side of this range.  It will remain cold through the weekend, and snow cover will allow the temperature to fall to around 5 degrees by Saturday morning.

A strong warm up will start on Monday and temperatures next week will reach into the 60′s.

Arctic Blast to arrive on Saturday

A strong upper system currently off the west coast will move eastward across the western half of the U.S. through Friday.  Another strong wave will be moving southward across the Canadian Prairies.  These two waves will phase and move across the Plains on Saturday.  A strong arctic front will be crossing the Kansas/Oklahoma border at daybreak on Saturday, and clear the state before midnight.  In advance of the front, the weather will be quite mild with sunrise temperatures in the 40′s and 50′s across the southeast half of the state.  Temperatures will rapidly fall behind the front and continue to fall throughout the day.  By Midnight, single digit temperatures will be possible across northwest Oklahoma.  Strong north winds will drop windchill temperatures into the single digits across southeast Oklahoma, and below zero across central and northwest Oklahoma.  Light snow is also expected to develop from early evening Saturday to early morning Sunday.  While no significant accumulations are expected, a couple of places from western to north central Oklahoma may see a little over an inch of snow.

* Things to watch:

1) Extreme temperature ranges – The timing of the front will allow some places about 18 hours to cool down, resulting in some ranges in the daily high and low approaching 50 degrees.  Here is a list of the greatest ranges on record for Okarche:

1 – 55 degrees – 68-13 – 12/14/08
2 – 53 degrees – 62-9 – 01/14/82
3 -52 degrees – 80-28 -10/31/39
4 -51 degrees -75-24 – 01/24/43
51 degrees – 81-30 – 03/31/64
51 degrees – 87-36 -10/29/68
51 degrees – 91-40 -04/13/14
2) Extreme pressure ranges – As with the temperature, there will be a long period of time for change and rapid pressure rises will be occurring behind the front.  Here is a list of the greatest daily change in pressure:
1 – 0.92 -(29.57-30.49) FEBRUARY 11, 1999
2 – 0.87 -(29.58-30.45) NOVEMBER 15, 2005
2TIE – 0.87 -(29.71-30.58) NOVEMBER 18, 2016
4 – 0.80 -(29.65-30.45) FEBRUARY 16, 2006
5 – 0.79 -(29.60-30.39) DECEMBER 3, 2008
5TIE – 0.79 -(29.52-30.31) DECEMBER 14, 2008
5TIE – 0.79 -(29.53-30.32) APRIL 3, 2015
In addition to the rapidly falling temperatures and slight chance of snow, winds will be gusting out of the north behind the front at speeds of 40 to 50 mph.
The low temperature in Okarche both Sunday morning and Monday morning will be between 5 and 8 degrees.

Light snow possible Saturday morning

A cold front is passing across Oklahoma this Thursday evening.  The air behind the front isn’t unseasonably cold, but temperatures are expected to drop to around freezing on Friday morning, and into the upper 20′s by Saturday morning.  An upper low is currently located just offshore of the Oregon coast.  This wave will open but still be generating a significant amount of lift as it moves across the Four Corners region by Friday evening, and across the Southern Plains by Saturday morning.  Model guidance is starting to come into better agreement with regard to the precipitation that will be produced by this system Saturday morning.  Light snow is expected to develop over parts of western Oklahoma and the eastern Texas Panhandle before sunrise.  This snow will spread southeastward during the morning hours.  Forecast soundings suggest that the precipitation may transition to a rain/snow mix, or all rain as it moves toward the Red River and temperatures begin to warm slightly around Noon.  Most of the state that sees snow will be seeing less than an inch of accumulation, but this pattern does favor one or more bands of higher snowfall and some places may end up with closer to 3 inches of snow.  Knowing where a heavier band will show up is nearly impossible to forecast.  A few travel issues may develop Saturday morning – mainly over west central and southwest Oklahoma.

Confidence in accumulating snow increasing

Water vapor imagery this afternoon shows a strong upper wave moving east across the Southern Rockies.  Lifting is spreading into Kansas, Colorado and much of the Southern Plains.  In response, rain has been developing over the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma Panhandle and far northwest Oklahoma.

Models have trended toward a stronger system over the last 24 hours and the 12z GFS keeps the wave as a closed low as it tracks eastward near the Red River Valley through Saturday morning.  Precipitation will continue to increase this evening before gradually ending from west to east Saturday morning.  Snow won’t completely end over far northeast Oklahoma until late Saturday afternoon.

The thermal profile will continue to cool this afternoon with a transition from rain to snow / west to east this evening.  Forecast soundings show a profile favorable for snow in the Okarche area between 9 pm and Midnight this evening.

Snow accumulations will be near climatological average for January in Oklahoma, with 1 to 3 inches expected in the areas seeing the most snow.  Local amounts around 4 inches will be possible in areas that see heavier snow bursts.  While difficult to pin down, the most favored area for heavier snow lies across western Oklahoma and the Panhandle.   Another band may develop over northeast Oklahoma Saturday morning and extend northeastward across Arkansas and Missouri.

The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of northern and western Oklahoma and the Panhandle.  This includes Kingfisher and Canadian counties.  Impacts to travel will occur starting late this evening and continuing through Saturday morning.

…Major storm with significant impacts Saturday through Monday…

** Anyone using posts from this blog to make decisions that could have life threatening consequences – shouldn’t.  This is only the weather as I see it – keep updated with the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service.

A powerful storm system will pound Oklahoma between Saturday and Monday.  The system will bring flooding rainfall and severe thunderstorms to the southeast third of the state – areas of freezing rain and sleet across central and western Oklahoma – and heavy snow with blizzard conditions to western Oklahoma and the Panhandle.

There are many uncertainties early this Saturday morning.  A strong upper trough is digging southeastward across Arizona at this time, and the wave should close off over southwest Texas by Sunday morning.  The GFS has been the most consistent model concerning the future track of the system, but solutions have wobbled north/south across a 100 mile area over the past several runs.  It appears that the upper low will be somewhere near the Arkansas/Oklahoma border along I-40 at sunrise on Monday.

There are a few things that can be said with greater confidence.  Showers are beginning to develop over southeast Oklahoma and a rapid increase in coverage and intensity is expected through daybreak on Saturday.  Training thunderstorms are likely to generate several inches of rain over a broad area southeast of a Duncan to Jay line through Sunday afternoon.  Localized rainfall may reach 5 to 8 inches, and the threat of flooding will be high.  In addition to the flooding threat, the Storm Prediction Center has painted south central, southeast, and east central Oklahoma with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms.  At least low chances of all facets of severe weather will be possible.

A strong cold front is pushing southward across the High Plains.  This front is expected to pass through Okarche by early afternoon on Saturday.  There is high uncertainty concerning the thermal profile over central Oklahoma after the frontal passage.  In all likelihood, there will be warm layers / mostly missed by model guidance / that wrap around the north side of the storm system, spreading from eastern Oklahoma into central sections of the state.  The profile through the early morning hours of Sunday will likely be one favorable for sleet and freezing rain.  However, low level warm air advection may very well keep precipitation a cold rain through at least Midnight on Monday.  At that time, freezing or frozen precipitation is likely to begin in Okarche.

A mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow is expected from Midnight on Monday to around daybreak.  Near sunrise, precipitation should transition to snow and heavy snow will be possible until about Noon on Monday, tapering off as the upper system lifts away from the state.  Across western Oklahoma, snowfall amounts may reach or exceed 8 inches.  In Okarche, 2 to 4 inches are possible.

Another aspect of this storm that can be predicted with higher confidence is the wind.  By late morning on Saturday, winds will be increasing out of the north across the Panhandle and northwest part of the state.  These strong winds will spread into central Oklahoma by sunset on Saturday.  From that point through Noon on Monday, winds will be sustained between 30 and 40 mph, with gusts to between 50 and 60 mph possible.  This wind will lead to several issues.  1) For areas that see snow, blizzard conditions are expected.  The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as having sustained winds of 35 mph, with a visibility below 1/4 of a mile for at least a three hour period.  It appears these conditions will be met.  2) For any area that sees freezing rain, it will become very easy to bring down power poles/lines – or trees onto the lines.  3) Across central and western Oklahoma / in areas that saw damage from the Thanksgiving ice storm / there are likely compromised poles/lines and trees that have yet to fall.  These will become susceptible in the high winds, and widespread power outages will be possible even if new ice accumulation hasn’t occurred.

Almost every part of Oklahoma will be adversely affected by some part or product of this storm.  In some cases it could be life threatening.  People are strongly encouraged to keep up with weather forecasts and heed warnings.  Anyone planning travel on Sunday or Monday / especially across western Oklahoma and the Panhandle / should reconsider those plans.

A December to remember…

Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, the weather has been quite interesting.  Through the first 22 days of December, the average temperature in Okarche has been 47.0 degrees.  That would tie the record for the warmest December on record.  Two high low temperature records have been set.

Record high levels of moisture led to record rainfall on December 13th.

A significant tornado event is possible just east of Oklahoma on Wednesday the 23rd.

On December 13th, the low barometer in Okarche reached 29.37 inches which broke the record of 29.38 inches set on December 29, 2010.  That record was smashed on December 22nd when the barometer reached 29.27 inches.  That record has already been broken on December 23rd as the barometer has dropped to 29.21 inches.  The pressure is just 0.02 of an inch away from the record lowest barometer of 29.19 inches set on October 25, 2010.  The pressure should drop to near that level later today.

Eyes will then turn toward a storm system that will be approaching the state on Christmas and begin impacting Oklahoma on Sunday the 27th.  Current indications are that a significant snow event / with possible blizzard conditions / could occur over part of western Oklahoma.  Still several days away, there will be many day to day changes in the forecast regarding this system.