They let me out of my cage for a couple of days, back in the saddle now. Christmas is now a week away and I used some of this blog space last week trying to illustrate the difficulty of making a very long range forecast utilizing the longer range guidance which does go out to 16 days. By way of a reminder, the first map that you see here is the GFS solution that was initialized at 6AM of Dec 9 and the forecast shown was valid for 6PM of Dec 23. I picked that particular time frame because that solution was showing a significant snowstorm for the state which would leave snow on the ground through Christmas Day; in other words strongly suggestive of a White Christmas. On subsequent days, I showed updated guidance valid for the same time which had changed considerably and which would NOT be supportive of a White Christmas.
The whole point was to illustrate the problems in forecasting at those longer time ranges for a high impact date, such as Christmas Day, due to the fact that there will often be significant flip-flops in the model solutions from one run to the next. Now that we are a week away from Christmas, we have (hopefully) much more reliable guidance. Also, the date in question now falls into the time domain of some other numerical sources giving us more confidence in a possible solution.
If you notice the second map, it was initiated at Noon today and the forecast is valid for 6AM Christmas morning. This is also based on the GFS and this particular solution has been very consistent in the longer range products for several days now; not only the GFS but also the European solution which is not shown. It should be obvious that Oklahoma and surrounding states will be high and dry for that valid time frame and brisk southerly winds would suggest very mild temperatures. The storm system around the Great Lakes will be producing travel problems up that direction and the low pressure system shown in Nebraska will be quickly moving eastward with the trailing cold front reaching our state Christmas night. Of course, that solution can also flip on us in subsequent days as updated data becomes available, but for the last several days now we have been seeing consistent guidance suggesting no travel problems around here for Christmas Day nor for Christmas Eve.
In the meantime, we have gone through several gloomy days again and the question is when/if we will get to see some sunshine. Overcast skies with potentially some fog/drizzle can be expected to start the day again on Friday, but the vertical profiles of temperature and moisture suggest we may get to see a few breaks in the clouds that afternoon. We should also see at least some sunshine through the weekend and into early next week. Light northerly winds will keep us rather cool with morning lows at least staying above freezing and the daytime highs should at least make it into the low-mid 40s for Friday.
A return to southerly winds for Sat/Sun/Mon and at least some sunshine should get us into the upper 40s if not into the 50s. Another cool front will arrive late Monday with only a slight chance of showers followed by brisk northerly winds for Tuesday and a bit of a cool down. As mentioned above, the longer range guidance continues to support relatively mild temperatures for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a return to southerly winds on Christmas Day.
That will likely be followed by another, stronger cold front arriving Christmas Night followed by much cooler conditions for the day after Christmas.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.