Dick Faurot's Weather Blog: Warming Trend

Wednesday, March 4th 2015, 8:36 pm
By: News On 6

Less is better; at least when it comes to wintry precipitation.

Today's third round of winter weather has brought a little of everything, with freezing rain, sleet and snow, but fortunately, the amounts have dwindled and the location has shifted from what was projected just 24 hours ago.

As is often the case in these types of situations, a difference of just a degree or two of temperature or a degree or two of latitude can make a huge difference in the sensible weather for a given location.

Remember, one degree of latitude is almost 70 miles, so if the guidance we rely on misses the location of maximum forcing for precipitation development by only a degree or two of latitude, that could easily shift the axis of maximum precipitation accordingly.

Same thing applies to temperature and moisture profiles aloft as the sleet/freezing rain that fell this morning amounted to as much as ¼” at some locations. Had the temperature been just a few degrees colder, that could easily have been as much as 3” of snow instead of ice.

Snow is still falling as I write this so precipitation totals will not be available until Thursday or perhaps even Friday for some locations and will post those when they are received.

Also, the cold windy conditions have produced a pretty miserable day to be outside. Notice the max wind map, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, for this Wednesday. Then, notice the minimum wind chill map for the day, also courtesy of the OK Mesonet; pretty miserable.

At least, the pattern is changing and this looks to be the last winter weather event for the next week or two, if not longer.

Keep in mind, we have had some significant winter weather events late in March, such as the nearly 10” of snow that fell on March 28, 2009. So, we are not completely out of the winter weather woods just yet.

However, as mentioned, the pattern aloft is changing and the next two weeks will be much milder and much more settled with little or no chance of any precipitation at all, let alone any wintry precipitation. The bitter cold, windy conditions of today will be gradually moderating, but it will take a couple of days so hang in there.

Skies will be clearing late tonight and the winds will be subsiding, which, together with ice/snow on the ground, will lead to temperatures starting the day Thursday in the teens.

Although the winds will not be nearly as strong as today, they will still be up around 10 mph and that will bring wind chill values into the single digits first thing in the morning.

Lots of sunshine for Thursday with some occasional low level clouds is expected, but northerly winds of 10-15 mph and the presence of ice/snow on the ground will make for a slow warm-up. Daytime highs will struggle to get much above freezing with mid-upper 30s generally expected.

After that, look for improving conditions with mostly sunny skies through the weekend and well into the following week.

Southerly winds will also return and temperatures will gradually rebound as you can see on our forecast page. In fact, after this brutally cold end to February and beginning of March, look for daytime temperatures to finally climb above normal by Sunday and continue well above normal into next week.

Notice the 8-14 day outlook graphics for example which clearly suggest a warmer, more settled pattern during that week as well.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot