Winter Begins with Several Ups and Downs
Sunday, December 21st 2014, 5:19 PM CST
Winter is officially here (as of 5:03pm). The sun is at its lowest angle to the Northern Hemisphere and Sunday night into Monday morning will be our longest night with 14 hours and 18 minutes between our sunset and sunrise. The good news: the daylight time only gets longer from here. The bad news: what daylight we do see in the coming days will, once again be obscured by clouds.
A big storm system is brewing, but it will be mostly beyond Oklahoma by the time it strengthens into a powerful wind, storm and snow-maker for the East Coast and Great Lakes region. What it will do for us is keep us under mostly cloudy skies with a continued chance of drizzle and light showers through Tuesday. We have an opportunity for a little sunshine in the wake of a few showers that may dot the landscape Monday morning. That will bring temperatures almost 10° above normal in our area by the afternoon. The colder air rushes in Monday night and remains in place for the days leading up to Christmas. Expect a brisk wind Tuesday and a blustery Christmas Eve as that storm system intensifies but pushes northeast of us.
Overall, that's less than exciting weather. However, a final piece of that system will swing through the region Tuesday night into Wednesday. The cold air axis will be right through our region and with just enough lift from that upper-level energy, the atmosphere may be able to squeeze out a few flurries or light snow showers. Anytime snow is mentioned on Christmas Eve, I tend to have a captive audience. So while I have yours, here's the deal: accumulation is unlikely in most places except for northeastern Oklahoma and into Arkansas. With that said, if it falls Wednesday morning with temperatures near freezing, a dusting can't be ruled out in a few places. I'm calling for a high in the mid-40s by Wednesday afternoon so there's no need to worry about travel issues to church or Grandma's house that day. If anything, it'll be a fleeting treat for those hoping for a White Christmas… or at least some semblance of snow this time of year.
Christmas Day itself will be quite the reversal. After a chilly morning, temperatures will soar to near 60° in spots with a gusty south wind kicking in. Here's the best part: the sun will be out! If we can't have a White Christmas, we might as well bask in some early winter “warmth.” It will be short-lived as the following day will offer a sharper cold front with Arctic air settling in for most of the weekend. Fortunately, that front will lack moisture so no winter storm is expected.
It gets a little more interesting for the final days of 2014. Next week, an even stronger shot of Arctic air comes our way. Our 8 to 14 Day Outlook shows this trend. Computer models suggest there could be a little snow with it, but it's too early to trust that will happen. What we are counting on is a very cold New Year's Eve and entrance to 2015. Whether that comes with any snow is yet to be seen. Stay tuned.