The weather pattern looks active as far as the eye can see tonight. The next storm system that will be sliding by just to our southwest should keep any significant snowfall limited to the far south and west edges of the state. There is not enough evidence to support significant snow in the main body of Oklahoma… and thus, this will be the last post which has focus on winter time weather this season.
March is here! Or, at least where we can smell it. It has been a brutal couple of months and I am glad to be seeing some of the signs of warm weather and thunderstorms showing up on the medium range models. With only two days to go in February – there have only been three days where the temperature made it to above average. The last couple of days don’t give us much hope either and this may be one of the coldest Februarys that I have ever recorded. I sure hope that March is ready to roar like a lion!
The ugly details of just how miserable February was will be posted soon. Hopefully in the not too distant future… we will be seeing some record high temperatures – fingers and toes crossed.
Time to plant… time to build… time to rake… time to get this crap rolling… Spring is just around the corner…..ahhhh, it will be nice……
Swing and a miss! One would think that if you forecast winter events long enough in Oklahoma… you would finally realize just how hard it is to get snow here. It appears as if my initial questions /forecast concerns/ are being felt. After a low yesterday morning of 28 degrees in Okarche… temperatures warmed nicely with the afternoon high reaching 53 degrees. Winds are shifting around to the northeast… bringing in some cooler air… but even at this late hour, temperatures in the main body of Oklahoma are almost all above freezing. There has been snow falling with roads reported as slick in the far northwest and eastern Panhandle… but a cold rain is all we have seen so far in central sections. An eventual change over to snow may occur by morning as precipitation starts to come to an end… but accumulations over an inch outside of the far northwest are not likely.
Many things mentioned in the previous forecasts are actually on track this morning. Vorticity center is found over the Oklahoma Panhandle with increasing lifting noted on water vapor loops across the Panhandle and southwest Kansas. Precipitation on radar over the eastern Panhandle and far northwest corner of the state is likely light – and not reaching the ground in some cases – but should begin to work toward the surface and become heavier during the next few hours. At the surface, a low pressure center is easily identifiable in observational data over the eastern Texas Panhandle. Strong southeast winds have developed over most of Oklahoma and temperatures have warmed into the 40’s and low 50’s over much of the state. The exception is in the northwest and Panhandle where cooler air has filtered in on northeast winds – to the northeast of the low pressure area. Also – some very dry air is noted over eastern portions of Oklahoma with dew points as low as 10 degrees F found in some Mesonet observations.
As stated above – most everything found in the first paragraph was expected. Model data this morning has not shifted much from previous runs and the upper system – and its associated surface low – will move southeastward during the next 24 to 36 hours. Precipitation will be increasing during that time and a swath of rain – becoming mixed with snow – and changing over to all snow will spread from northwest to southeast across the state.
Evaporative cooling assisted by the close proximity of the dry air found over eastern Oklahoma will help to cool the lower portion of the column. Total column cooling will take place as lifting increases in association with the upper system. It still appears that the greatest duration of snowfall – and thus higher snowfall totals – will occur to the northwest of OKC. Lesser amounts are likely to occur to the southeast of OKC. The bottom line – no changes will be made to the ongoing forecast. This system will have the potential to produce isolated bursts of heavy snow which may accumulate to near three inches to our east and south – and near five inches to our northwest. One to two will be the most common report across a fairly large area.
00Z NAM is not only stronger with the upper system that will be affecting the state during the next 24 to 48 hours but also slightly cooler. This despite what should be some decent warm air advection that will be taking place in advance of the storm. A combination of stronger lifting and relatively dry air in the lower levels may serve to overcome the WAA and produce a profile suitable for snow. I’m still not completely ready to buy into this being a significant snow event. However… there are some signals that suggest it may be more than what was previously forecast. It’s also worthy of noting that “significant” in central and eastern Oklahoma is anything more than a “few” inches.
As mentioned… model data is trending toward a stronger solution. The evening run of the NAM is also farther south with the track of the upper low… taking it from the Oklahoma Panhandle around Noon on Thursday to near Paris, Texas by 6 p.m. on Friday. The greatest potential of heavy snow bursts would be just northeast of this track. (Getting a quick look at the latest GFS which while not quite as strong – has a similar track as the NAM).
Of particular interest is the fact that models have become similar in slowing down the system a bit. While overall snow amounts shouldn’t be excessive… it does appear that places that see a quick change from rain to snow may see snow for a longer period of time that previously expected. This slow-down will also delay the start of accumulating snow in the Panhandle and northwest until afternoon… with snow likely continuing into the afternoon hours on Friday in the southeast.
Going to edge snowfall expectations upward a bit over the central and eastern part of the state with this forecast. Given the fact that the system may be stronger than previously expected… will also edge up amounts in northwest Oklahoma and portions of the Panhandle. If a change over to snow occurs in central and eastern Oklahoma quicker than forecast… amounts in those areas will need to be pushed upward to match expected totals in the northwest.
The weather pattern is set to remain very active during the next week. This morning… a large trough of low pressure was found from the Great Lakes to the western Gulf of Mexico. A ridge of High pressure extended from Saskatchewan to the southwest U.S. Several short wave troughs were moving onshore along the west coast.
The morning models are similar in crashing short waves into and flattening the ridge during the next 24 hours with a significant wave developing and impacting the weather in Oklahoma starting Thursday morning. While differences are subtle between the GFS and NAM regarding the evolution of this short wave trough… they are of the right magnitude and location to cause forecast issues in the state.
The NAM is stronger with the system than the GFS… resulting in a stronger 850 MB low… resulting in stronger warm air advection. It’s this warm air advection that would bring in a nose of warm air above the surface… limiting significant snowfall to the northwest part of the state. Still… a cold rain with an eventual change over to snow would be likely to the east and south. The GFS is not quite as aggressive with the warm nose and as a result has a cooler column across much of the northeast 2/3’s of the state – capable of supporting accumulating snowfall.
It’s anyone’s guess at this point… and once again we will likely be left watching the event unfold before we get an answer. My gut falls to the side of the NAM which would have warmer air above the surface and limited snowfall potential in central and southeast Oklahoma. However… both models have performed about equally well with winter systems this year and I wouldn’t be surprised with the GFS solution verifying and more than a couple of inches of snowfall around OKC and points southeast.
For this first forecast on the event… I’m going to take the middle ground and look for about an inch of snow in the central and southeast with one to three inches possible in the northwest. Locally higher amounts by an inch or so are possible in all areas and hopefully evening model runs tonight will be able to shed a little more light. This will be a fairly quick hitting system – so, a worst case scenario shouldn’t produce more than about four inches in any one area.
Will not be making any changes with this update. Strong vort center has just moved past Las Vegas, Nevada and continues to dive southeastward. This is pretty much on track with previous guidance and the main areas of precipitation will stay south and west of Oklahoma. Still… morning model data suggests enough snow in the Panhandle and extreme southwest corner of the state to include some accumulations. Very little of the state will see snowfall with this system… but I don’t want the fine folks in Boise City or Hollis to think that I don’t consider them worthy of a forecast.
Changing direction – this winter started out fun – but is now starting to drag a bit. The past couple of runs of medium range models are starting to show some hope. After we get the next couple of systems by us… we could be looking at shifting the storm track a little farther north. Hopefully this keeps us in the warm sector longer each time with the main winter impacts occurring north of Oklahoma. No doubt some cold air will still find its way down here… but the duration should be shorter each time and we actually could see some “warm” days happening just a week or so down the road. “Warm” being relative to what we have been seeing lately…
Strong upper system is dropping southward through Nevada/Utah early this morning and should start to move southeastward during the next 24 hours. Models have been consistent in keeping the main effects of this storm southwest of Oklahoma… but have also been consistent in generating some snowfall in the Panhandle and then scraping across the southwest corner of the state.
The air in place this time around is considerably colder than with the previous storm and it is likely that all precipitation will fall in the form of snow. It wouldn’t take much to produce one to two inches – possibly greater in the Panhandle.
This is yet another low-end, limited impact event… but given the amount of cold air in place and higher confidence that precipitation will be in the form of snow… will introduce light accumulations starting early on Monday and continuing until early Tuesday.
Weather conditions at 11 p.m. are quite interesting across Oklahoma. A fairly strong upper storm is approaching from the southwest… generating widespread rain/thunderstorms across the western part of the state. It appears that some of the stronger storms in portions of Beckham, Washita and Custer Counties may be producing some small hail.
Snow is still likely in the Panhandle and far northwest/north central sections of the state late tonight and for a time on Sunday.
At the current time… it appears that freezing rain has developed in the Panhandle and Harper County where mesonet observations show a “void” of wind. This is where anemometers have frozen up. It remains to be seen just how much of a significant icing event this is going to be… but it appears that there may be some issues before morning.
Meanwhile in southeast Oklahoma… temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s. Very nice weather indeed for late February!
Vort max is moving through southwest New Mexico… and should continue a track northeastward across Oklahoma during the next 24 hours. Convection is breaking out across portions of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle… which will move/develop northeastward across the state during the night.
It still appears that there is a conditional threat of accumulating snowfall across the Panhandle and far northwest/north central sections of the state – starting during the early morning hours and continuing through the day. Conditional on the threat of the total atmosphere profile becoming conducive of snow.
Given the look of the vort max/lifting on satellite at time… believe that we will see enough cooling of the profile to allow snow to start falling in the risk area overnight and early Sunday morning. Given the existing temperatures in the central Plains and warm surface temperatures… we should not see accumulating snow last on the ground for very long. Still… “snowfall” should range from one to three inches across the risk area with the greatest potential being in the Panhandle and Harper County. Will continue the forecast of snowfall elsewhere… but amounts should be closer to the one inch amount.
Latest water vapor looping shows a fairly strong vorticity center spinning eastward through southwest Arizona. Increasing lifting is spreading across AZ/NM early this afternoon… which will spread over the southern Plains overnight. A considerable amount of convection will likely occur tonight and Sunday morning across Oklahoma/Texas with some small hail likely with the most vigorous updrafts.
Models are coming into agreement on a solution of developing a surface low near the southwest corner of Oklahoma by sunrise Sunday… which will move quickly northeastward toward southern Missouri during the day.
While the air is not extremely cold in the central Plains… it does look as if a profile favorable for accumulating snowfall will filter into the Panhandle and far northwest/north central part of the state on Sunday. There should be enough precipitation remaining for some places to see upwards of a couple of inches of snow… with local amounts to near three inches possible.