Powerful Winter Storm Brings 'Thundersleet' To Oklahoma

Sunday, March 2nd 2014, 4:51 pm
By: News On 6

A mix of winter weather conditions was felt in much of Oklahoma Sunday as March roared in like a lion. Oklahomans experienced all types of freezing precipitation during the day including thundersleet and thundersnow, thanks to the strength of the storm system moving through.

"One of the more interesting aspects of this winter weather event is the precipitation type and the occurrence of thunder with the sleet, snow, freezing rain, and even hail that we have been experiencing from time to time through the day Sunday," WARN Team Meteorologist Dick Faurot said.

Faurot said the temperature and moisture content of air layers varied greatly, causing the thunder to boom as sleet and snow fell. A shallow layer that was well below freezing and saturated with moisture was topped by a layer of drier air that was about 40 degrees Farenheit.

So the rain froze as it fell through the Arctic air closer to the surface, but there was enough energy and lift to create thunderstorms up above the shallow layer of Arctic air.

That translated into "thundersleet" and "thundersnow."

"It is this vertical distribution of temperature and moisture that is most difficult to forecast as a difference of just a few hundred feet in the elevation of the freezing line can make a huge difference regarding whether we get sleet, freezing rain, snow, or some combination," Faurot said in his weather blog.

The sleet and freezing rain transitioned to snow overnight as the system made its way east.

The dangerously cold temperatures will take a few days to warm up, but spring-like weather is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday.