Stacia Knight Tracks Threat Of Oklahoma Winter Weather
The in-coming winter storm system continues to be sampled well by weather models, and they’re getting a better handle on what’s to come. We remain with a threat of wintry weather this weekend starting early Saturday morning and continuing through the day.
A winter weather watch is in effect from Friday evening through Saturday evening for much of our area. Travel is expected to deteriorate throughout the day on Saturday. Elevated surfaces will become slick first and then worsen to surface roads by Saturday afternoon and evening.
On Friday most of the precipitation will be across southern Oklahoma. Any precipitation north of I-40 will be patchy drizzle for the early morning. There is a small window for patchy freezing drizzle around the metro during the morning commute. Temperatures will be at or near freezing in Tulsa for the early morning, then get above freezing by lunch time.
Overall travel on Friday looks to be okay. We are expecting dry conditions through the afternoon and evening around Tulsa. Moisture will spread northward Friday evening with rain south of Tulsa. Rain should expand into Tulsa around midnight or into early Saturday morning. Temperatures aloft, would be cold enough to produce a wintry mix on the northern edge of the moisture.
Changes in the model data have delayed the timing of when precipitation will change over to snow on Saturday. We are still expecting that change-over to occur, but it looks like it will happen later in the day on Saturday which lowers our snowfall totals.
In Tulsa, Saturday morning should be a mix of cold rain with possibly sleet pellets. In the afternoon, the metro could see a mixture of freezing rain and sleet.
There is a layer of warm air aloft that will try to melt frozen precipitation. Most but not all the frozen precipitation will melt, which is why we will have a mixture of rain and sleet. Temperatures at the surface will be at or near freezing during the day.
Bridges and overpasses will start to become slick by Saturday morning around Tulsa and to the north. Conditions will worsen as precipitation continues through the day.
The column of air should cool enough to see mostly snow by the evening hours and into Saturday night. Snowfall totals have lessened in the newest model runs because this system has slowed down.
1” to 3” will still be common in our area along with higher totals possibly up to 5”-6”. With freezing rain and sleet, icing accumulations will also be a concern especially around northwester Arkansas and far eastern Oklahoma. Power outages could be a problem in those areas along with slick roads.
Rain transitioning into a wintry mix will happen from north to south, starting early Saturday morning. By Saturday evening, those in southeastern Oklahoma should start to see a wintry mix.
Expect tough travel conditions on Saturday. Drive much slower and be extra cautious on the roads. This system will move out fast Saturday night. Watch out for black ice Sunday morning before temperatures warm above freezing Sunday afternoon.