Dick Faurot's Weather Blog: What Happened Yesterday?

Thursday, March 5th 2015, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

Apparently, lots of folks in the Tulsa area have been wondering ‘what happened' during the winter weather event of yesterday. We'll start by looking at a visible satellite image from this morning on which I have labeled where the clouds are and where snow is on the ground.

You will notice a narrow band of snow from SW to NE across portions of KS, then a gap in the snow coverage, then an extensive area of snow that extends deep into TX and goes NE from there across OK, MO, Ark, etc. Obviously, most of OK had snow on the ground at that time. Notice you can clearly see geographic features such as the Palo Duro Canyon in the TX Panhandle and the many lakes here in E OK and NE TX.

Careful examination also suggests a hole in the snow here in NE OK.

Now notice the snowfall total map for NE OK, prepared by the good folks at our local NWS office from the data base they have acquired over the last 24 hours. Again, the hole over the Tulsa area, particularly the north side of Tulsa, is very apparent.

Officially, this event will go down with only 0.3” of snow for Tulsa, but notice the surrounding areas had significantly more. Also, this is frozen precipitation - which would include sleet - and from some of the surrounding observations there was anywhere from trace amounts to as much as 0.5” of sleet that accumulated before the snow starting flying. Had that all been in the form of snowfall, the totals would have been much higher.

Now notice the snowfall accumulation map from the good folks at the NWS office in OKC. Frozen precipitation totals were much more generous down that way and in fact, OKC set a record for the date with 4”. Some of that was also sleet before it changed over to snow, so their totals could have been much higher as well if not for that transition time.

You may recall I had mentioned in previous blogs that with snow forecasting it is impossible to predict in advance where local banding will occur that will produce locally much higher amounts of frozen precipitation. That also applies to dry slots that will also form within the overall precipitation area.

Turns out that yesterday, a dry slot developed and persisted right along and just north of the I-44 corridor here in NE OK - hence the donut hole.

That was then, what about now and going forward from here?

Well, the pattern aloft is changing to a much warmer one that will result in more spring-like conditions in the days ahead with occasional chances of showers or storms.

Obviously with snow on the ground to start the day, this has been a chilly one despite all the sunshine. The good news is that we will have lots of sunshine again Friday, so after a cold start with temperatures generally in the 20s, we should see a nice rebound.

Light southerly winds overnight will also help keep temperatures from totally bottoming out and then the sunshine and a south wind of 10-15 mph or more should get us into the lower 50s for Friday afternoon; keep in mind that the normal daytime high at this time of year is approaching 60 and we may be close to that on Saturday.

The only fly in the ointment for the weekend is a disturbance aloft that will pass by well south of us but will be close enough for more cloud cover and perhaps a few showers for the more southern counties on Sunday.

Beyond that, it is basically a temperature forecast for much of next week, and, as you can see on our forecast page, we are expecting temperatures to be much above normal for a change.

By the way, if the past ten days or so have seemed unusually cold, you are absolutely correct. The average temperature since Feb 22 is the second coldest on record for those dates.

The only time that was colder was back in 1960 and that set the stage for the coldest March on record.

Not to worry though, there is no indication of a repeat this time around. As was mentioned above, the pattern is changing to one that is warmer and which should persist with only a few ups and downs well into March as you can see on the 8-14 day outlook pages.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot