Category Archives: Upcoming High Wind Events

…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.

Wild weather day for Oklahoma on Wednesday

As a strong storm system moves across the Plains on Wednesday, there will be a wide range of active weather occur across the state.

By mid afternoon, a moist and very unstable atmosphere will set the stage for vigorous thunderstorm development from west and southwest of the OKC area into northeast Oklahoma.  Large hail and damaging winds are likely, and a tornado or two will also be possible.

Southwest winds behind a dryline will result in very warm temperatures and high fire danger across southwest Oklahoma.

As a cold front surges southward across the state through the evening hours, very strong north winds will develop behind it.  Most of the state can expect winds to gust over 40 mph, but western Oklahoma stands a chance of seeing 60 mph wind gusts.  The strong winds will persist through Thursday morning.

People living across the eastern 2/3s of the state should stay alert for rapidly changing weather conditions and listen for watch and warning information.  Those in southwest Oklahoma should take precautions to prevent the start and spread of wildfires.  Across central and western Oklahoma, people should secure loose objects in preparation for strong and possibly damaging wind gusts through the evening and overnight hours.

A windy superbowl sunday in Oklahoma

Low pressure is organizing over Eastern Kansas this Saturday evening.  The deepening cyclone will move rapidly eastward, reaching Illinois by sunset.  As this occurs, a strong cold front will be surging south across Oklahoma.  This front will be approaching the Oklahoma City area just before sunrise.  A strong pressure gradient behind the front will result in strong northwest winds with most of the state expected to see wind gusts between 35 and 45 mph… and some places across the northwestern part of the state could see gusts to 50 mph or stronger.  Strong winds won’t start to subside until after sunset.

Windy / Fire Danger – Sunday

A strong upper wave is moving quickly southeastward across the Central and Northern Plains late Saturday.  This system will continue to swing southeast toward the Mid Mississippi Valley on Sunday.  A cold front is now moving across Northwest Oklahoma, and winds have shifted to the northwest and are becoming gusty.  The front will be past Oklahoma by daybreak on Sunday.  In its wake, winds will be quite strong / gusting 40 to 50 mph.  No arctic air is associated with this front, and temperatures on Sunday will be mild.  The combination of low humidity and strong winds will create high to very high fire danger.

Windy, fire danger on Christmas Day

Surface high pressure will shift east of the Mississippi Valley on Christmas day, while low pressure deepens over the Southern and Central High Plains.  A tight pressure gradient will develop over Oklahoma and winds will become quite gusty out of the southwest.   Temperatures will warm nicely across the state, but the atmosphere will be dry with humidity dropping below 30 percent over Western Oklahoma.

The combined wind and low humidity will lead to elevated fire weather concerns across the western half of the state, with high fire danger expected for a few hours over Northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle.

Strong winds expected across the state (November 23, 2014)

The barometer keeps falling across the main body of Oklahoma this morning, as a surface cyclone organizes near the Kansas/Oklahoma border northwest of Alva.  The deep low pressure area will move across Northern Oklahoma through this afternoon and will be located near the northeast corner of the state around 3 pm.  As this low tracks across Oklahoma, it will drag a cold front through the state.  Rapid pressure rises behind the front/increasing pressure gradient will result in strong and gusty northwest winds.  The strongest winds will be across Western Oklahoma where gusts may approach 50 mph.  The cold front will be passing across far northwest sections of the state by 9 am this morning.  It is expected in the Okarche area around 2 pm.  Winds will quickly start to subside around sunset.

Hard freeze headed to Oklahoma

Expected cold front location around sunset on Monday (November 10)

Expected cold front location around sunset on Monday (November 10)

It is becoming increasingly likely that a strong cold front will be blasting across the state during the late afternoon and evening hours on Monday.   Winds will be quite strong behind the front, statewide Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The temperature in Okarche, Tuesday morning will be dropping slightly below freezing.  A hard freeze is likely on consecutive mornings, Wednesday through Friday.  Solid freezes may occur into the weekend.  Some of these days may not see temperatures get out of the 30′s for highs.

While significant precipitation is not expected, sprinkles will be possible immediately behind the front, and some very light snow will be possible toward the end of the week.

The lowest temperatures during this cold spell may approach 20 degrees.  This will bring an end to any late season growing that has been occurring with the mild weather so far.

Big weather changes on Sunday

There have been quite a few questions about the upcoming weather changes.  Here is my best guess at how the weather will unfold tomorrow (Sunday the 13th).

At daybreak, a cold front will begin pushing south across the Panhandle.  Behind the front, temperatures will start to fall and winds will increase out of the north.  Mild conditions will be in place across the main body of the state with strong south to southwest winds.  A few showers and a couple of thunderstorms will be possible over Southeast Oklahoma.

By 1 pm, the cold front will have advanced to a Cherokee to Cheyenne line and a dryline will have moved east to near Highway 81.  It will be windy and warm ahead of these features, and very warm over southwest Oklahoma behind the dryline.  There will be elevated fire danger across Southwest Oklahoma.  Showers are expected to form behind the front over the Panhandle and continue over parts of Eastern Oklahoma where there will also be some thunder.  We will begin monitoring parts of North Central and Northeast Oklahoma for the development of severe thunderstorms which are expected by mid afternoon.

As we approach sunset, the cold front will be located from near Pawhuska to Oklahoma City to Frederick.  I dryline feature will likely still be identifiable over Southern Oklahoma.  Severe thunderstorms will be ongoing across the northeast 1/4 of the state.  It currently appears that development southwest will be hampered by mid level capping and that the dryline and cold front west of I-35 will remain dry.  Strong north winds will be occurring behind the front with gusts from 40 to 50 mph.  Isolated showers will continue across Northern Oklahoma and the Panhandle.

Much colder air will have invaded the state by Monday at 1 am.  Strong north winds will be gusting from 40 to 50 mph.  A few severe thunderstorms will remain possible over far Southeast Oklahoma along and ahead of the cold front.  Over the Panhandle, showers will be possible as well as the chance of a heavy wet snow in Cimarron County.

Gardeners across Central Oklahoma should prepare for a freeze by Tuesday morning.  Additionally, gardeners may want to shield new plantings from the strong north winds which will persist for about 24 hours from sunset on Sunday to sunset on Monday.

Windy, high fire danger on Sunday

A strong short wave trough will be advancing eastward across the Central Rockies on Sunday.  This will result in a rapidly deepening area of low pressure over Eastern Colorado.  The light winds of Saturday will be replaced with steadily increasing winds out of the south on Sunday.  Wind gusts over Northwest Oklahoma may approach 50 mph.  Most places west of I-35 will see gusts to 40 mph.  Humidity will drop to less than 30 percent over most of the western half of the state during the afternoon.  The combination of low humidity and strong winds will result in very high fire danger.  The high wind gusts will likely continue through the night and into Monday morning.

Rain today

An upper level storm system will lift northeastward across the state today, generating showers and a few thunderstorms.  Thunder will likely be limited to areas along and just north of the Red River.  Precipitation amounts are not expected to be excessive, with barely measurable amounts forecast across the Panhandle and near 1/2 inch possible across Southeast Oklahoma.  In Okarche, about 1/4 of an inch of rain is expected.  Cloud cover and precipitation will keep temperatures cool today with highs only expected to reach into the 50′s.  The temperature should actually warm as we approach Midnight tonight after precipitation has moved out of the area.

Winds will be quite gusty across Central and Western Oklahoma today, with south winds reaching to between 35 and 45 mph.