After an unusually dry January, there is no shortage of moisture for the month of February. Three winter storms are poised to impact Oklahoma in the next week, all of which will be different in character. As of Saturday evening, we are just hours away from seeing the first flakes of snow falling on the area.
SUNDAY: This is a quick-hitting system, but will produce several hours of moderate to heavy snow over a portion of Green Country during the day. The snow may begin to fall as early as sunrise and overspread much of the area, especially along and south of I-44, through the morning. The precipitation may begin as a wintry mix of in southeastern Oklahoma before changing over to snow in the afternoon and evening as it tapers off. This is a quick-moving upper-level impulse, but the forcing it provides will be strong enough for a band or two of heavy snow to occur. This could lead to very low visibility and slick roadways. The I-40 corridor is essentially the bulls-eye for the heaviest snow, but even Tulsa could see slick roadways during the day with an inch or two of accumulation. If that heavy band sets up just 50 miles to the north, Tulsa would be looking at 3"-5". If it sets up across SE OK, Tulsa may only see a dusting. There is still some wiggle room, but the first attached map is my best estimate for snow totals. The snow will exit quickly in the evening, leaving us with bad roads, but nothing much falling from the sky by the time the Super Bowl is over.
TUESDAY: After about 24 hours of quiet, cold weather, another storm system is approaching along the same path. It will quickly arrive from the west with a shield of precipitation expanding over the region Monday night into Tuesday morning. The precipitation type is very much in question as there is a little more warm air sneaking into the region. Many areas north of I-40 may have a period of sleet and freezing rain. Tulsa may even be warm enough for some plain rain before deeper, colder air arrives. The path of this system is crucial to how much snow we see. It's taking a more northerly path, which may allow a dry slot (precip-free zone) to arrive during the day Tuesday. Before that happens, areas from Tulsa to the north should see a period of snow, but it may not add up to too much. Since this storm is several days out though, there's still a lot that can change. The main impacts will likely be icy areas on roads and elevated surfaces (trees/power lines) and some snow accumulation- heaviest to the north. See the second map for a potential snow accumulation set-up.
LATE-WEEK: This final storm system will take more time to push through the region and arrive in waves. A substantial Arctic air mass settles into the area before any precipitation begins on Thursday. This will be cold enough to support mainly snow for the duration of the system from Thursday to Saturday. It doesn't appear to be a compact, potent impulse like Sunday's system, so we could expect lighter, but a longer duration snow event. Several inches may fall before it sweeps by the region. As it does so, it shows signs of strengthening. I don't think we'll see a tremendous snowstorm, but it may end up producing the most widespread snowfall of the three systems.
That's a lot to take in for one week! Plenty can change, especially for the final two storm systems, so we'll keep you updated, winter storm by winter storm, to make sure you know what to expect! Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @GroganontheGO and on Facebook for that winter storm info!