It was less than a week ago when we were flirting with a spring-like 70°. It sure feels like a distant memory now as we talk about near-0° at multiple times in the forecast. It was really nice to have a light snow before Christmas, but now it looks like we’re taking the cold to the extreme heading into the New Year.

                We have now spent 6 days with below normal temperatures and are likely to spend another week or two below our average high of 47° in Tulsa. As we move into the heart of winter, that means we’re in for some seriously cold conditions. Here’s why:

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                A persistent and deep upper-level low is spinning across southern Canada, wobbling around north of the Great Lakes. That represents the core of this Arctic air. It’s also known as the famously over-used “Polar Vortex.” In any case, it continues to pivot renewed shots of Arctic air into the central and eastern U.S. with northerly flow as you can see above. In between these waves, we’ll see temperatures moderate a bit. Below is our wind chill and low temperature trend each morning until the end of the year. From Thursday into Friday, our highs will rise back into the 40s, giving us a limited chance to thaw out ahead of our next serious Arctic front.

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                That cold front will arrive early Saturday sending temperatures below freezing for the rest of the weekend and into next week. Moisture is very limited with it, but the strength of the front may cause some freezing drizzle to break out during the day. As the cold air deepens and another upper wave approaches Saturday night, we could see drizzle changing to light snow showers. With temperatures in the 20s and teens, anything that falls is likely to stick. That means even a light accumulation into Sunday morning could lead to slick spots on roads. Below you’ll see our broad-brushed look at snow chances across the state. If current trends hold, some parts of Green Country may turn white again with a dusting or an inch of snowfall. Nothing heavy seems lined up for us, but the heavy coats will continue to be needed as temperatures plummet further into the new year.

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                It appears we’ll usher 2018 in with some of the coldest air in over a year. At midnight, temperatures will be right around 10° with a wind chill at or below 0°.  We might actually have a few parts of northeast Oklahoma with actual lows near 0° New Year’s morning. Ouch! That bitter cold air will linger into midweek before a gradual warming trend takes hold. Tulsa may not get above freezing until next Thursday after this Friday!

                Before you think we’re out of the woods by then, I direct your attention to the photos below. The persistently cold pattern may modify somewhat, but as it does, we see a greater return of moisture. Incoming storm systems may be lined up by then to give us above-normal wintry not long after we sweep the confetti away from our New Year’s celebrations. It took awhile for true winter to arrive, but now we seem to be making up for lost time.

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                Stay warm and I wish you the happiest of New Years! For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page.