Lots of complaints about how cold this winter has been, particularly in light of how mild the last two winters were. As an example, notice the first two maps on the right. Thanks to the good folks at the OK Mesonet, they illustrate the differences to date between last winter and this winter as measured by the total number of hours below freezing. The map on the top is the total number of hours each location has been below freezing up through this date last year and the second map is for this year. Obviously, quite a contrast between the two winters.
When considering just the month of February, today marked only the 4th time that the official observation location out at the airport had a high temperature that was above freezing. More about that in tomorrow's blog but at least the pattern has finally changed allowing for a more W-E flow aloft instead of the N-S flow that kept bringing cold air down our way. As a result, we can expect a rather dramatic warming trend in coming days.
With some snow still on the ground, fair skies, and light winds, tonight will be another cold one with low-mid teens many locations by early Wednesday morning. That will be followed with lots of sunshine, a light westerly breeze, and daytime highs around 40. Thursday morning will start off in the 20s, and with a more S to SW breeze and lots of sunshine, the daytime high should make it into the mid 50s.
Another cool front will arrive that night so northerly winds for much of the day Friday will slow down the warm-up, but we should still be in the 50s during the day. This will be a dry system and since it is coming at us from the west and not from the north, the cool-down will be rather brief setting the stage for even warmer conditions for the weekend.
In fact, the weekend should see daytime temperatures reaching the 60s and that will likely extend into early next week as well. There will be a few weak wind shifts moving through during that period, but at this point they look to be dry and should not have much of an impact on temperatures. The only real concern is southerly winds returning Gulf stratus and its potential impacts on temperatures for the weekend and into early next week.
In fact, this more zonal or W-E pattern is expected to be generally persistent through the following week as well. That means above normal temperatures not only for the coming weekend and into next week, but well beyond that. Notice the 8-14 day maps on the right which have us in a strong signal suggesting a warmer and more settled pattern during that period.
So, after this extensive bout with winter to start the month of February, late this week through the weekend and the following week will be more pleasant.