Snowcast Event 10 – Update 1 – Noon, Sat, Feb 20

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.

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And the countdown begins…

We are gaining about two minutes of daylight a day now in Oklahoma.  Spring is rapidly approaching and we will soon turn our attention to severe weather.

I have tried to give my best shot at forecasting snow in Oklahoma over the past several months.  The results?… eh, not too bad in general.  A few good ones… a few bad ones.   I have never proclaimed to be a good winter weather forecaster… but it has been fun.  I will continue to forecast winter weather as it comes up over the next couple of weeks… but, I will change the forecast challenge to severe weather on March 1st.

Most say that the storm season in Oklahoma begins on April 1st.  Some say March 15th.  While we may go through the first half of March cool and stable many years… I have also seen some very active years as well.  I have always considered March 1st to be the start of the severe storm season in Oklahoma.

Thunderstorms are a much more frequent event in Oklahoma than winter storms… and I will give my thoughts about possible events at least once a day – everyday from March 1st through June 30th.  The only regular forecast will be at Midnight which will discuss the day’s potential and also bring up anything significant that is seen for the following days.  An unlimited number of updates may be posted through the day as conditions or expectations change.

The following chart from the SPC shows the typical increase in severe weather within range of the Norman, WSR-88D radar:

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You know him – it’s BaltimoreBen!

Maybe as I get older – I find things like this cuter.  First of all… on a weather note… the snow that has fallen over the last couple of weeks in the Washington, D.C. area has been impressive.  I have heard first hand stories of some of the experiences up there and waiting for friends to send me some pictures which they said I could post here.

But… the main reason for me writing is to draw attention to a CNN iReport posted by BaltimoreBen.  Hopefully the link will remain active for awhile.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-407635?hpt=Sbin

The sad thing is… I got more valuable information from this six year old than any of the ding-dong reporters that are actually getting paid to spread the news from the field.

Cold Air Coming…

GFS and NAM have similar solutions in dealing with the next blast of cold air that will enter the state early Sunday morning.  The NAM has been stronger with the mid level system helping to bring the cold air down… but the location of key features have been very close to the GFS.

Several model sets over the past 48 hours have generated light snowfall across the state on Sunday – and in some cases… 1 to 2 inches of snow (mostly over northern and central Oklahoma).  00z and 06z solutions have backed off on the accumulating snow… but it is still likely that some light snowfall will be squeezed out of the atmosphere with the strong cold air advection taking place during the day.

One thing is certain… it will be turning cold and windy on Valentine’s Day.  Leading up to that… today has the chance at being one of the warmest days we have seen since January 27th.  After the fog burns off this afternoon… temperatures should quickly head toward the mid 50’s.  Enjoy it… lows in the teens will be returning to Oklahoma to start the coming week.

Honey, for Valentine’s Day… I got you – arctic air!

OK… it may not have a true arctic origin… but it will feel like it.

I know the calendar says that we are still deep in the middle of winter… but I think that it’s what we’ve dealt with so far that makes this seem like the winter that won’t end.

Snow is winding down over southeast Oklahoma at this hour… several inches of snow fell today over portions of the south central and southeast sections of the state.  Meanwhile… we are already watching some very cold air that is building up north which will make a hard run toward us.

The next batch of arctic air is going to be taking a track similar to the last… but the bad news for Oklahoma is that it may very well be just a bit farther to the west.  We just slid by some very cold temperatures with the last one… but may not be as lucky this time.

The leading edge of the coldest temperatures will be located near the Oklahoma/Kansas border by Midnight, Sunday.  By Noon… winds will be strong out of the north… temperatures will be falling steadily and there may even by some light snow blowing around.  Happy Valentines Day.  Temperatures are likely to fall to near single digits by Monday morning and have a hard time approaching freezing Monday afternoon.

Afterward… there are no signs of significant cold air which gets us into the last week of the month.  Many things can change between now and then.  Trouble is… despite the fact that no real cold air looks ready to pounce after this next spell… there are no signs of a strong warm up either.

Snowcast Event 9 – Update 2 – Noon, Thu, Feb 11

There was virtually no change in thinking between the first update on this event last evening and Midnight last night… so the second update is coming here at Noon.

Widespread snow has spread north of the Red River.  It is clear that dry air on the north side of the precipitation is playing a part in keeping anything reaching the surface light – flurries in the OKC area now.  So, despite a rather ugly looking surge of radar echoes northward along I-35… it is doubtful that the accumulation forecast needs to be expanded much.  This forecast will be used to bump amounts near and north of the Red River where a heavier band of snow has managed to make headway into the state… especially east of a vorticity center near Wichita Falls.

Again… I do not expect a much farther north area of accumulations outside of places that are already seeing it.  System driving the snow is pushing east southeastward and most of the lifting should be out of Oklahoma shortly after sunset.  A heavy, wet snow is falling faster than it can melt and accumulations of greater than 5 inches are going to be possible from very close to the Arbuckles to near Lake Texoma and points east.

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Snowcast Event 9 – Update 1 – 6:02 p.m., Wed, Feb 10

Latest forecast soundings for Thursday the 11th suggest a profile cold enough for snow – not too far different from the previous system that produced a brief period of heavy snow in central Oklahoma.  This time… it looks like near and just north of the Red River will see accumulating snowfall from late morning until near sunset.

With the profile suggesting snow… about the only question is will there be precipitation and how much?  NAM/SREF suggests at least enough to see a couple of inches of snowfall.  GFS is less impressive with the amounts… but agrees to at least some.  Not expecting a significant event… but a couple of inches now look likely.

Similar to the last event… there should be quick melting with little in the way to show for the event in the following 24 to 48 hours.

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Now That Man Saw Some Weather!

There are a couple of types of shows on television where you can hear the constant rambling of NOAA Weather Radio.  Pick any of a number of shows about storm chasing to hear it… or, any episode of “Deadliest Catch”.  I think “Deadliest Catch” has most storm chasing shows beat when it comes to being able to hear NOAA Weather Radio.  I spent several years as one of the “voices of weather radio” in the 1980’s before the system became automated.

The show “Deadliest Catch” – for those that don’t know – is about fishing (mostly for crab) in the Bering Sea area of Alaska.  Discovery Channel crews ride along with and tell the story of a handful of the fishing vessels each season and have always done a pretty good job of it.  The show quickly became my favorite a few years ago and is still today.

As with any reality show – it is pretty easy to pick some favorite players.  I always enjoyed the tales and trials from the “Northwestern” and the “Cornelia Marie”.  I was saddened to learn this morning about the passing of the “Cornelia Marie” Captain, Phil Harris.  He was a larger than life character on the show and will truly be missed by those of us fans that keep up with it.

Now to be honest, to the best of my knowledge, I never came within a few thousand miles of the man.  He seemed tough as nails and kind at heart… but for me to go on about him would be nothing more than a guess.  One thing I did know about him – that man saw some weather!

When things get boring in Oklahoma during the winter… I have found myself in the past calling up weather maps from Alaska just to watch the “bombs” – storm systems – roll through.  Plain wicked!  I’ve often wondered how you survive on land – let alone in a boat in those conditions!  The weather makes up a large reason I still love the show “Deadliest Catch”.

Our weather around here has been interesting enough that I haven’t had a reason to look at an Alaskan weather map lately.  Until hearing about the passing of Captain Phil.  There was no surprise to see a monster 966 MB low pressure area sitting on the Aleutian Islands moving straight for the fishing grounds.  In Oklahoma, our pressure is pretty low when it drops below 1000 MB… and very low – the type associated with major tornado outbreaks in the spring and blizzards in the winter – when the pressure is down around 990 MB.  966… for a weather observer – good stuff.  Not so much for a fisherman.  Rest in peace Phil… this is one storm you won’t have to deal with…

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Okarche Seasonal Snowfall Average Exceeded

The 2.4 inches of snow that fell on February 8th… pushed the seasonal total to 11.7 inches.  This is the first time since the 2002/2003 season that we are above average in snowfall.  Average is 9.6 inches.  We still have a bit of work to do to make one of the top five seasons… but given this winter, anything is possible.

1. 2002/2003 – 19.0 inches

2. 2000/2001 – 16.3 inches

3. 1993/1994 – 14.9 inches

4. 1994/1995 – 14.3 inches

5. 2001/2002 – 13.5 inches

6. 2009/2010 – 11.7 inches

Visit: http://www.okweatherwatch.com/wx/0910snowfall.JPG

Active winter weather continues – more coming?

Snowfall in Okarche is starting to wind down… the current total for this event stands at 2.4 inches.  It looks like the back edge of this main precipitation has just about passed us with only some light snow remaining here.  More snow has developed in southwest Oklahoma… and while this doesn’t look like it will add significant amounts… will need to watch how this evolves during the next few hours.  Another inch or so wouldn’t be out of the question.

Attention is already turning to the system due in Thursday/Friday.  There are some significant differences in latest model data… but the trend is toward yet another winter weather event.  Some significant snowfall looks possible – mainly over the southern part of the state.  However, signs are now beginning to point to central and even northern sections of the state getting in on the action as well.

Shots from this morning as the snow continues…

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Okarche, Oklahoma