Warmer Through the Weekend, Chance Storms for Christmas.
Winter officially arrived this morning at 4:44AM, but as you can see temperatures were downright balmy compared to recent days. These maximum temperatures around the state, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, are quite a change to the below freezing conditions on Sunday. For Tulsa, the official max/min has been 55/25 as compared to the 48/28 that is normal at this time of year.
A weak cool front has also moved through the state today and light northerly winds will continue for the overnight hours and will bring somewhat cooler conditions back to the state. Also, the high clouds should be thinning enough for temperatures to drop back into the 20s to start the day on Thursday. But, those high clouds will be thickening up during the day and together with light northerly winds will keep our daytime highs in the 40s. All in all, Thursday will be close to normal for this time of year.
It will be a far different story for Friday through the weekend though. A storm system aloft now located in the Pacific off the coast of Baja California will be spreading more cloud cover our way so little or no sunshine for Friday. That system will also be weakening but will still be able to wring out some light rain or showers on Friday. At least the brisk southerly winds will keep temperatures above freezing to start the day and well into the 40s that afternoon, so any precipitation will be all liquid on our side of the state.
Saturday will be between storm systems, but brisk southerly winds will maintain mostly cloudy skies and there could be some light drizzle or even a shower or two. As you can see on our forecast page, the better chances of rain still look to be on Christmas Day itself with a good chance of showers and storms. A strong cold front will be pushing across the state late in the day or that night with widespread showers and storms expected along and ahead of it.
We could see some occasional light showers or drizzle off and on for much of Christmas Day until the front arrives bringing the chance of storms. Cannot rule out the possibility of a few storms reaching marginal severe intensity with primarily a wind, small hail threat, but it appears to be a very low end threat. Although the dynamics look very impressive with strong winds at the surface and aloft, the instability currently looks to be very marginal for any significant severe threat. That, of course, is subject to change and will be closely monitored over the next few days. At least, we may finally get some decent rainfall from this system as you can see on the 7 day QPF map.
Temperatures will be well into the 50s on Saturday, not cooling off much if at all Saturday night, and then well into the 60s on Sunday. In fact, this looks to be one of the warmest Christmas Days on record. The actual cool front should be arriving that night or early Monday morning bringing temperatures back closer to their seasonal norms for the first part of the week.
Return flow on Wednesday will start to warm us back up and will also bring more clouds our way. For now, am keeping Wednesday dry but that may change depending on the strength of the return flow and the moisture brought back with it.
After that, the 8-14 day outlook continues to suggest temperatures, on average, should be running above normal for that time period. Currently, we are not seeing any indication of any arctic air returning to the state through the next two weeks at least. That time period will also have the potential for at least some precipitation.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.