Another cold one today, at least for the NE corner of the state.
Notice the max/min temperatures across the state, courtesy of the OK Mesonet, and once again the NE corner was barely above freezing while the SW corner made it into the 60s. A contributing factor is the snow that is still on the ground for some of the NE counties and also the fact that our winds have been blowing from the SE.
The second map shows the snow cover as of first thing this morning across the lower 48 states and there remains a narrow ribbon of snow still observed in NE OK. Notice also the snow in Arkansas and you can see why the SE surface winds did not warm things up much.
Those winds are basically bringing cold air over the E US that is coming over some residual snow still on the ground in Arkansas.
The third map shows the brunt of the coldest air remains east of us with very strong departures from normal as of early this afternoon from Florida all the way to Canada.
At least we had a good bit of sunshine during the day today, but cannot say the same about the coming days. We will keep a brisk SE wind through the night tonight, but an approaching storm system will also bring stronger southerly winds aloft over the colder air at the surface.
The winds aloft will quickly return moisture so that overcast skies are expected by morning along with some patchy drizzle and that will be the case all day long.
Not much in the way of rain will occur, but it will be a rather dreary day with the clouds, patchy drizzle, and cool temperatures.
Speaking of which, temperatures will be close to freezing first thing in the morning, so there is a slight potential for some freezing drizzle to start the day. As the day wears on, temperatures will gradually moderate into the 40s.
A stronger storm system aloft will then be impacting the state for the weekend with widespread rain likely Friday night into Saturday morning and perhaps even some thunder for the far SE counties.
There remains considerable uncertainty on Saturday as the position and track of the surface low and associated cold front will play a big role in temperatures. All the guidance so far today is keeping the warm sector much further south than was the case just 24 hours ago.
With that in mind, have modified the temperature profile on Saturday considerably; it now appears that, except for the far N and NE counties, temperatures that morning should start off in the lower 40s but with a N to NE wind all day there will not be much, if any, moderation.
The exception is that it also appears that as the rain moves out that morning we will be dry slotted allowing for enough afternoon sunshine for temperatures to remain in the 40s and perhaps even rebound to near 50 before the real cold air moves in that night.
Saturday night, Sunday and through the day Monday we'll be back in the freezer with temperatures not likely getting much above freezing, if at all.
Also, a series of weaker systems aloft will keep us mostly cloudy and could wring out some light snow or flurries during that time frame. Right now, this does not appear to be a significant system, but that is certainly subject to change.
Temperatures will briefly moderate Tue/Wed of next week before another stronger system comes our way later in the week.
Once again, the guidance is not handling this system with any run to run or model to model consistency so just be aware of the potential for another round of wintry weather later in the week and it will certainly continue to be much colder than normal.
In fact, the longer range guidance continues to keep us in the below normal category going through the end of the month as you can see on the last map.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.