Alan Crone: Cold, Windy & Wet Thursday
TULSA, Oklahoma - Our dynamic storm system is gaining momentum this morning and will bring blustery and wet conditions across eastern Oklahoma today with winds speeds reaching advisory criteria including the Tulsa metro and part of eastern Oklahoma by afternoon.
Locations across the western third of the state may experience even higher winds and a high wind warning will be issued for these locations. Additionally, temperatures will drop from the 50s this morning into mid 40s later this afternoon with wind chill values dropping into the mid-30s this afternoon and into the upper 20s by tonight.
Any real threat of wintry precipitation should remain southward across Texas, closer to the main upper level low that will traverse central Texas later today and this evening. Strong to severe storms will be possible across northeastern Texas with snow possible across the western third of north TX where a winter storm watch will remain today and this evening. The main impact for precipitation will be in the form of cold rain with some rumbles of thunder across northeastern Oklahoma.
At this point, only extreme southeastern Oklahoma, near Choctaw to McCurtain County would be in the running for a strong to near severe storm as the data stands now. If the system slows, this threat could extend slightly northward into southeastern Oklahoma midday to early afternoon. The main system may linger for part of Friday with blustery weather remaining for a few hours before exiting to the east. The gusty winds will remain for most of Friday. The weekend appears to be a fine shape with morning lows in the lower 30s with a few upper 20s in the valleys. Daytime highs will be in the lower to mid-50s Saturday and the mid-50s Sunday. Most of next week appears rather uneventful from a weather standpoint with a weak system brushing the state Wednesday with minor impacts at this point.
The main upper level trough is sweeping across Colorado at this hour with the anticipation of a closed type low developing soon at the base of the feature. This will represent cold air aloft helping to destabilize the atmosphere as this air mass spreads eastward. Very strong winds aloft will translate downward and support the very windy weather today statewide. Non-convective wind gusts over 60 mph may be possible today across western OK with 30 to 45 mph winds across eastern Oklahoma. These strong winds will probably not spread across northeast Oklahoma until midday to afternoon and evening. Winds are somewhat light early this morning with mild temps under the rain shield.
The focus for wintry precipitation should be tied to the column cooling with the main upper level low. If this is the case, the only threat of significant accumulating snow will be to the west and northwest of the main upper level low across Texas. A very small, outside chance may exist for a few snowflakes to mix with some rain across the I-35 corridor Friday morning as temps drop into the lower 30s. Model data supports 5K ft temps near or even slightly above freezing which should keep this all liquid. But if the air mass is slightly colder (drier) than anticipated, a wet-bulbing process could allow this to occur. At this point, this remains out of the forecast.
The exit or ending of the event is not exactly clear. The various models have various ending points, but the tendency of the cutoff to slow slightly leads us to keep some precipitation longer for Friday than previous forecasts, especially across southeastern and east-central OK where precip may linger for most of Friday. The metro will have a chance Friday morning but should remain slightly east by midday to afternoon. Temps will remain chilly tomorrow with highs in the 40s along with gusty north winds.
In summary: rain with some thunder will approach the area today. Mild temps will remain this morning but are expected to drop through the afternoon. Strong winds are likely to develop by midday and continue this afternoon through tonight.
Thanks for reading the Thursday morning weather discussion and blog.