More Winter Weather

Thursday, February 26th 2015, 9:58 pm
By: News On 6

What a difference a day can make here in OK! The first two maps, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, show the maximum winds recorded so far today and the minimum wind chill values for the day. Those strongest winds and the lowest wind chill values were overnight and early this morning which made for a mighty cold start to our day.

Now that we have cold air in place, a series of disturbances aloft will be moving over the state from the southern Rockies over the next several days which will make things rather interesting. The timing and intensity of those systems have not been handled very well up to this point in time by the available guidance and this type of pattern will continue to pose some significant forecast challenges.

Problem is that the energy aloft will come in several waves, each of which will be capable of producing precipitation, but none of which will be of sufficient intensity to produce a strong, well organized storm system that would sweep everything on east with it. So, we are left with a series of systems each one of which has the potential to produce wintry weather over the next several days.

The first one will be coming this way on Friday but most of its moisture should be wrung out as it progresses eastward. Also, most of the energy from this system will be concentrated more to our west and south which is where the most likely locations for measurable amounts of snow may occur. Even there, amounts should be on the light side with flurries and at best a dusting for the rest of us during the course of the day Friday.

We should be between systems most of Friday night with the next system coming our way by early Saturday morning. This will likely start off with snow but with our surface winds becoming more E and eventually SE, temperatures are expected to gradually moderate and the snow may transition to a wintry mix and/or a cold rain by that evening. Again, considerable uncertainty exists for Saturday as the low level temperature profile will be critical regarding the precipitation type.

It is rare for us to receive measurable snowfall with a southerly wind component, and the winds on Saturday will start off from the E but eventually becoming more SE. Wind speeds will be light, generally less than 10 mph, so the implied warm air advection may not be enough to change from snow to a wintry mix. That also creates additional uncertainty regarding just how much snow may accumulate. A first guess at this time suggests anywhere from 1-2” will be possible with higher amounts perhaps over the more northern counties and into KS.

Sunday should see chances of a cold rain although there may be a wintry mix first thing in the morning if temperatures should hang around the freezing mark. After that another chance of rain for Monday and Tuesday along with warmer temperatures are expected. In fact, Tuesday may see a strong enough southerly wind component for temperatures to be near 60 and perhaps some thunder as another cold front arrives that evening.

Colder conditions return for later in the week when some wintry weather is a slight possibility once again. Sunny skies will be hard to come by during this forecast cycle as you can see on the forecast page.

As for temperatures, Friday morning will start off in the teens along with a NE wind of 10-15 which will put wind chill values into the low single digits once again. Cloudy skies all day along with some flurries should keep us in the 20s for daytime temperatures and a NE wind of 10-15 will keep those wind chill values in the teens for most of the day.

Saturday will start off in the 20s, but a more SE wind by afternoon may be enough to offset the clouds and wintry precipitation enough for us to get above freezing late in the day. If so, Saturday night temperatures should be at or just above freezing which will obviously impact the precipitation type to start the day Sunday. After that, temperatures try to moderate at least briefly for Mon/Tue before another cool-down arrives for later in the week.

After that, notice the 6-10 day outlook map maintains a rather strong signal suggesting below normal temperatures for us so the cold end to February and start to March will likely continue into the second week of March as well.

Obviously, this forecast is subject to many changes as additional data becomes available so stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot