Warmer by Friday, Then Much Colder
Got a little interesting there for awhile today as some very light drizzle or a light mist briefly developed while temperatures were still at or just below the freezing level.
Fortunately, it moved out rather quickly and that was followed by enough afternoon sunshine to push our daytime highs to around the 40 degree mark for most of us. Here in Tulsa, the official max/min was 41/24 with only a trace of precipitation. Our normal max/min for this time of year is 49/30 so another day of much cooler than normal conditions.
We should have a light NE breeze through the overnight hours and with generally fair skies, look for temperatures to drop into the upper teens to low 20s. As we go through the day Thursday, clouds will be on the increase so temperatures will be slow to rebound and daytime highs should be generally below the 40 degree mark. Our winds will be returning to a more SE direction and picking up enough by afternoon to bring those wind chill values possibly into the 20s.
Those SE winds will not be calming down Thursday night so with cloudy skies and a brisk southerly wind component, temperatures will only drop off a few degrees initially and may even rise some towards Friday morning. Gusty southerly winds through the day Friday will offset the cloud cover enough for temperatures to rise through the 40s and into the 50s by late in the day or that night. Some drizzle or a few showers will also be possible, but it will all be liquid and very light.
Things start getting interesting Friday night through Saturday as a strong cold front pushes rapidly through the state. It is no surprise that the latest/greatest model data is bringing that cold air through a little more quickly and that trend may continue with subsequent data runs as those shallow, very cold air masses are often not modeled well this far in advance.
At any rate, look for temperatures to hold in the 50s and perhaps even some 60s for the more southern counties Friday night until the front arrives with strong northerly winds and rapidly falling temperatures early Saturday. We expect to be near the freezing mark by mid-day and well below freezing that afternoon. Couple that with strong northerly winds, and wind chill values will be in the teens and single digits for much of the day Saturday.
Sunday morning still looks brutal as you can see on the projected wind chill chart with below zero readings a common feature across the state. Surprisingly, those number have changed very little over the last several data runs providing more confidence regarding how cold that system will be. As you can see on our forecast page, actual air temperatures will likely be near the 10 degree mark and we will not get above freezing during the day despite abundant sunshine.
Monday morning looks to be the coldest with respect to the actual temperature as clear skies and light winds should allow temperatures to drop into single digit territory, particularly with the potential for having a little snow on the ground. Afternoon highs will struggle to get above freezing.
Precipitation with this system still looks to be light as you can see on the 5 day QPF map. However, notice it does suggest the potential for up to ¼” of liquid which if that all fell as snow would correlate to a couple of inches of snow. That is a big if though. Look for some wintry precipitation to be developing during the day Saturday and ending that night so it will be a fast moving system. Also, moisture in the snow making layer is still projected to be lacking so a light wintry mix of freezing drizzle, ice pellets, or some light snow will be possible before it all comes to an end by Sunday morning. If you have travel plans, strongly suggest you stay tuned to updates as this is a very dynamic situation and could easily change considerably one way or the other.
After that, a return to southerly winds will initiate a warming trend going into the middle of next week. There are some solutions that suggest another storm system moving over us along about the Wed/Thu time frame, but the lack of model to model and run to run consistency leads me to downplay that system at this time.
Looking further down the road, temperatures are projected to average below normal into the latter part of next week as you can see on the 6-10 day outlook which brings us up to Christmas Eve.
However, the 8-14 day outlook does suggest at least some moderation in temperatures. That time frame is also starting to show a wetter signal which does not necessarily mean the potential for a White Christmas. Latest/greatest data runs are trying to bring a storm system across the state over the Christmas weekend but the data that far in advance is subject to significant run to run changes so am not going to speculate on how the Christmas weekend will turn out just yet.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.