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NE Oklahoma Under Winter Storm Watch As Cold Front Arrives

Posted: Updated:
Alan Crone Alan Crone
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Our friends and weather enterprise partners at the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for a small area of northern OK for Friday through Sunday morning, including Tulsa, Rogers, Washington, Craig, Nowata, Ottawa, Osage, Creek, and Pawnee counties.   Additionally, a larger area of central OK is also included in a winter storm watch for this event.  Locations along and north-northwest, west, and southwest of the I-44 corridor remain in the favorable region for some icing due to rain freezing on contact with elevated surfaces.   Locations directly along the I-44 corridor, including part of the Tulsa metro, could see some minor icing accumulations from .10 to possibly higher amounts near .25 inches.  

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Locations slightly removed from the corridor, places including Washington, Osage, Pawnee, Payne counties and some locations across central and north-central OK could see ice accumulations from .50 to .75 inches.   Some locations across part of north-central OK may see ice accumulation between 1 and 1.5 inches.   If the freezing zone shifts more south or southeast, higher totals would be possible in the Tulsa metro. 

The initial surge of cold and shallow arctic air is moving rapidly southward this morning and will pass the Tulsa metro pre-dawn.   Temperatures are currently in the 50s across most of the area but will quickly drop into the 20's and 30's this morning along with stout north winds at 10 to 25 mph.   A very small area of light precipitation may be possible across far southeastern OK this morning through midday.

WARN Interactive Radar

he boundary will continue to progress southward this morning but will slow down as it encounters the slightly varied terrain of southeastern and east-central OK.   This air mass will not be deep enough to clear the entire area and should stall somewhere across southeastern OK, probably across part of Pushmataha and LeFlore counties.   Temperatures this afternoon will be highly varied across the area with lower upper 30s or near 40 around the metro, upper 40's and lower 50's along the I-40 corridor region, and near 60 across far southeastern OK.   A period of clear sky may develop by midday but clouds will rapidly return by afternoon and encompasses all of the state by evening.

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Later tonight into Friday morning, temps will drop to near or slightly below freezing in the winter storm watch zone for northern and northeastern OK.   Light drizzle or very light showers will attempt to develop and may freeze on contact with elevated surfaces including bridges and overpasses.   While widespread travel issues may not occur during this phase, freezing precipitation may still be enough to cause some issues, especially across along the northwest of the I-44 region.   The Tulsa metro could have some commute issues Friday morning, more so for the northern third of the county.

Later Friday morning, additional precipitation is likely to develop as warm and moist air is drawn over the shallow dome of colder air at the surface.   Temps may stay near or below freezing near Bartlesville to Pawhuska to Pawnee to Stillwater with the Tulsa metro moving to near 33 or 34 by midday to early afternoon.    More rain is likely to develop late Friday night and move into the area pre-dawn Saturday with temps near or slightly below freezing again from part of Tulsa county northward, and along and northwest-west of the I-44 corridor region.   Temps may remain near or slightly below freezing for several hours Saturday allowing for some significant freezing rain and icing in the winter storm watch area.   Some travel issues may develop during this period along the Ok-Kansas state line region where the air will be colder.   Accumulation on elevated surfaces including trees and power lines would occur during this phase of the system.   Northeast winds at 10 to 25 mph would be possible and could eventually lead to some power issues across part of Osage, Pawnee, northwestern Creek, Payne county, and a number of other counties across north-central OK.   Again, the Tulsa Co region may reside on the most eastern edge of this system.   A shift south or southeast of the freezing zone by even 20 miles could bring power issues into part of the county. But at this time, those types of issues would more than likely remain to the north-northeast-west-and southwest of the metro.

By Saturday night into Sunday morning, the pattern will undergo a rapid change as a strong surface low ejects across part of the state by morning to afternoon.   Temps will rapidly move out of the freezing zone pre-dawn Sunday and the threat for any additional icing or freezing rain will end.   After some early morning showers, we anticipate a lull in rain chances until late Sunday afternoon and evening as the main system ejects across the state.   Storms will become likely, including the possibility of heavy rainfall and the threat of some strong to severe storms.   The dynamic nature of this system would support supercell storms across part of north TX and southeastern OK if enough instability could occur ahead of the activity.   We’ll refrain from introducing any severe weather threats (convective) at this point but the possibility will exist across the southern third of the region.  

While the focus has been on the winter potential for this system, locations across southeastern and east-central OK should remain aware of the possibility of moderate to heavy rainfall that may lead to some localized flooding issues in some locations.   Overall model data support 2 to near 4inches of rainfall across part of eastern OK including the time from Friday through Monday morning.

We’ll see the system exiting the area Monday into Tuesday.  

Please remain aware of the weather in your area Friday through the weekend.   This winter event has the potential to be a significant ice storm for part of the state.   A shift to the southeast of the colder air would bring higher totals to part of northeastern OK including the Tulsa metro.

Thanks for reading the Thursday morning weather discussion and blog.

Have a super great day!

Alan Crone

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