Taste of Winter on Tuesday
A small section of Green Country turned white on Sunday. Even more of our area may turn icy by Tuesday night. It’s not a major ice storm, but it doesn’t take much for some broad impacts across the area. Here’s the break-down.
Another cold front is pushing into Oklahoma on our Monday night. It will send those temperatures and wind chill values plummeting into the teens and single digits respectively by Tuesday morning (shown above). We’ll see a warm-up to near or slightly above freezing during the day before the readings drop off again Tuesday evening. Initially, we’ll be dry. The energy to generate precipitation won’t arrive until later in the day. A few showers are possible before sunset in the late afternoon, but the main event will be between 6pm and midnight.
The graphic above shows our timeline for precipitation chances through the latter half of the day. Notice the chances for Tulsa aren’t overly high, but we’re likely cold enough for freezing rain and possibly sleet. The depth of the cold air is not great enough for snow to form, therefore, we’ll see liquid drops forming and falling into the sub-freezing air near the ground. Just as a winter refresher… If it freezes on contact, we call it freezing rain. That usually has the worst impacts for travel because it can quickly form a glaze on untreated surfaces. Sleet is when those raindrops freeze before reaching the ground as little pellets.
Ice is the troubling prospect on our Tuesday evening. The latest data shows heavier amounts falling south of Tulsa from southeast to far eastern Oklahoma. A few areas from near McAlester to Eufaula and Sallisaw could end up with closer to a quarter-inch of ice. That coating is enough to cause small limbs and even a power line or two to go down. Exactly where that freezing line sets up makes all the difference though. If you live south enough, you might end up with just some beneficial rain without the freezing repercussions. If you live north of Tulsa, any precipitation you might see could stick. Some of that could be in the form of snow, although amounts won’t likely exceed a dusting.
All of this will be clearing out by midnight. It’s just a brief window of precipitation, but the impacts could last well into Wednesday as temperatures dip into the lower 20s that morning. Any slick spots of roads likely remain slick for that morning drive. If there are any closings, it would be on Wednesday in the area.
We get a late-week break from wintry weather as temperatures rebound into the 50s and possibly 60s by Thursday and Friday. Our next storm system shows up this weekend. It may also bring some wintry weather before it exits, but the details aren’t very clear regarding timing and the placement of it altogether.
This won’t be the blockbuster winter storm many are craving, especially since snow will be hard to come by in our area. However, stay weather aware Tuesday evening as any amount of ice can be a big problem for travelers. We’ll have our storm trackers out to monitor it all as it comes through. For more weather updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on my Facebook Page!