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Here Come The Clouds, Again

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Maximum/minimum temperature map. Oklahoma Mesonet. Maximum/minimum temperature map. Oklahoma Mesonet.
Rainfall model. Rainfall model.
Temperature model. Temperature model.
Precipitation probability. Precipitation probability.
White Christmas outlook. White Christmas outlook.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Hope you have enjoyed the sunshine of yesterday and today as it certainly looks like stratus will be coming back at us by Wednesday afternoon followed by cloudy or at the very least mostly cloudy skies right on through the coming weekend. Despite the sunshine, NE winds have brought in cooler, drier air so that temperatures have struggled to make the 50 degree mark so far today; notice the max/min temperature map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. Just some high level cirrus clouds are expected tonight and with light winds, temperatures will quickly drop off this evening and should bottom out in the mid-upper 20s by morning.

A light SE wind during the day Wednesday but increasing cloud cover should keep daytime temperatures in the low 50s which is pretty close to normal. Look for the clouds to be thickening up during the afternoon and evening hours and that will be followed by pretty much overcast conditions through the weekend. The clouds together with a SE breeze will also produce a relatively short thermometer with morning lows in the 40s for Thu/Fri mornings and probably only in the lower 50s for Sat/Sun mornings. Daytime highs in the 50s are expected Thu/Fri and lower 60s for Sat/Sun.

As the low level stratus deck thickens, there will also be the possibility of a light mist, drizzle, fog, etc…..from time to time starting Thursday and through the day Saturday. Anything that falls will be very light and more of a nuisance than anything else. However, a much stronger system will be approaching and moving across the state during the Sun/Mon time frame which will bring a much better chance of rain, showers, and even the possibility of storms. Much too early to determine if there will be any severe threat, but notice the 7 day QPF map which suggests the potential for some decent rainfall across much of the state.

That system will also produce stronger southerly winds for Saturday/Sunday followed by gusty northerly winds on the back side Monday. Lingering showers along with much cooler temperatures are also expected for Monday, but with no cold air in place ahead of the system nor any really cold air nearby, all indications suggest liquid precipitation also for Monday.

After that, notice the 8-14 day outlooks which take us almost up to Christmas and continue to suggest above normal temperatures along with a rather unsettled period with additional chances of rain or showers. If this verifies, this would certainly suggest minimal travel problems for the weekend and the week leading up to Christmas Day.

However, for those of you who like to look at some of the model forecasts which are widely available on the internet, you may have noticed the GFS which does have solutions out to Christmas Day is suggesting winter weather potential. Notice the last map which is valid 6 PM, Dec 23 and the precipitation potential and colder air it is depicting would certainly suggest the possibility of a significant snow storm and potentially a White Christmas here in Oklahoma.

Because of that, you will likely see someone on the internet taking this as Gospel and predicting a snow event leading up to Christmas. However, the computer model solutions at that time frame are often unreliable and it is not at all unusual for one model run to suggest a blizzard at those longer time frames and the next one to suggest sunny skies and mild temperatures. In other words, they will often flip-flop at those longer time ranges and we usually do not give them much credence until we see several days of internal run to run consistency and then as we get within the time domain of some of the other available solutions, will then start to adjust the forecast accordingly. Having said that, will keep a close watch on those solutions in the days ahead to monitor for any trends one way or the other. I am saying all that to say, if someone suggests that the latest/greatest computer solution is calling for a White Christmas more than two weeks out…..take it with a real big grain of salt…..at least for now.

In the meantime, stay tuned, stay warm, and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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