Colder Yet Tonight, Moderating for the Weekend.
Certainly a cold start to our day. Notice the minimum temperatures around the state first thing this morning; there was even a negative reading out in the Panhandle as recorded by the OK Mesonet.
Unfortunately, that was not the whole story as there was enough of a breeze to bring wind chill values even lower this morning with minimum wind chills in the single digits for many locations and negative values in the Panhandle.
And, despite lots of sunshine today most locations have struggled to get much above the freezing mark as those northerly winds have remained rather brisk. For Tulsa, the numbers so far today have been 36/20 for the max/min as compared to the normal values of 51/31.
Tonight will be even colder with respect to temperature, but at least the winds will be much lighter so the wind chill will not be as much of a factor. Most of us are expected to drop into the teens tonight and there may even be some single digits in the normally colder valley locations. But, that all depends on our skies remaining clear through the night. A deck of stratus clouds has been spreading eastward across the state this afternoon and there is some uncertainty regarding just how far east and how persistent those clouds will be. If they should persist through the night and move more our way, the net effect would be to keep temperatures a few degrees warmer but it will still be brutally cold.
Also, with dew point temperatures in the single digits or low teens at best, that means the air is extremely dry so be aware of static cling. Minimum outdoor relative humidity values will be dropping to 30% or less during the warmest part of the day, but if you bring that dry air into your car or your home and warm it to 70, that brings the relative humidity level down to near 10%.
Friday will see a little more of a rebound in temperatures, but still well below normal with afternoon highs only in the mid-upper 30s. A light NE wind in the morning will become more SE that afternoon and we do expect to see more afternoon cloud cover. Temperatures will quickly fall back below freezing and into the 20s during the early night time hours, but increasing southerly winds should result in temperatures leveling off and perhaps even rising somewhat toward Saturday morning.
Gusty southerly winds will help to moderate temperatures back into the 40s during the day Saturday, but those winds will certainly make it feel colder. Also, clouds will be returning which will limit the warm-up. Despite the clouds, Saturday will be dry for the Christmas parades at various locations but keep in mind it will be windy.
Gusty southerly winds will continue into the day Sunday which will keep temperatures that morning much warmer with most locations near 40 and despite overcast skies afternoon temperatures should reach well into the 50s with some 60s not out of the question. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, at that time the longer range guidance was in complete disagreement regarding the timing and intensity of the next cold front. At that time, I was favoring a faster and therefore colder solution for Sunday, but the data that has come in today has trended much slower with respect to frontal movement. As a result, have warmed temperatures up considerably for Sunday followed by a cool down for Monday into Tuesday before an even stronger cold front arrives by the middle of the week as you can see on our forecast page.
Unfortunately, none of these systems will have much moisture to work with as our precipitation chances are minimal. We certainly need the moisture as drought continues to spread its ugly head across our state.
And, as you can see on the 8-14 day outlook, our prospects for any moisture of consequence are not favorable as below normal precipitation is anticipated through that period as well. Notice that temperatures are also expected to remain below normal on average during that period.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.