2014 Ends with Frigid Air
Sunday, December 28th 2014, 6:19 PM CST
After a little snow on Saturday to remind us that it is indeed winter and Oklahoma can see more than just days on end of cloudy weather in December, we look ahead to a week filled with Old Man Winter's name all over it – at least in the sense of Arctic air. Get ready for a polar plunge because several days in our near-future will feature sub-freezing temperatures all day long.
The door is finally open to Arctic air after nearly a month of being bottled up in only the highest latitudes of our hemisphere. We've got another day or so of seasonably cool weather before the leading edge of the really cold stuff arrives Monday night. That cold front will arrive in a moisture-starved state so nothing more than a few flurries can be expected as we head into Tuesday. Still, our high temperatures will drop by 15°-20° from Monday and 40s will be the warmest readings we can find on our forecast from midweek into next weekend (and that might be generous). In fact, after Monday afternoon, we may not rise above freezing again until the New Year. Our temperatures will likely bottom out New Year's Eve morning in the teens. Here's that weather pattern in our first map.
Trouble then may be lurking in the Desert Southwest. A potent closed low pressure system will stall out for a few days before trudging eastward into the Southern Plains by New Year's Day. This system will force warmer air northward again. But the big question is if enough cold air will linger to cause a wintry mess once precipitation begins sometime late Thursday into Friday. While most of our computer models suggest minimal wintry precipitation at this point, Arctic air is a tough thing to move entirely so we may be stuck with a spell of freezing rain or sleet before a likely changeover to plain rain occurs Friday. If you've got travel plans late this week, especially in the first 36 hours of 2015, be sure to pay attention closely since a few degrees change in the forecast could make all the difference. Hopefully, we start the year with much-needed moisture in liquid form since this is a busy travel season.
After that system pushes through the region, we have another day or two lull before the next possible wave of Arctic air arrives. The latest 8-14 day outlook suggests we may have that open door to the Arctic well into January. Whether or not we end up with any substantial wintry precipitation or not, I know I'll be looking back fondly to our 60° Christmas weather by the start of 2015.