For the last few forecast discussions, I have been using the phrase that our pattern is becoming more and more interesting. That continues to be the case and the latest and greatest guidance coming in this morning just makes our weather even more interesting going into the weekend and throughout the following week.
First up is the cold front which is currently sagging southward across the state with a big temperature differential across it as shown by the first map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. That colder air will eventually make it all the way across the state by this evening and overnight tonight which will make early Saturday morning a bit interesting. By that time, we expect to have some light rain or drizzle and temperatures by then will also be near the freezing mark for many locations. Amounts are expected to be very light so impacts should be rather minimal but keep in mind that there may be some icy spots on elevated surfaces such as bridges and overpasses.
As we go through the day Saturday, that weak system will quickly move on eastward leaving us with a cloudy, chilly day and afternoon temperatures only around 40 or so. That will be followed by a stronger system which will be moving across the state during the day Sunday. The data over the last few days has flipped around somewhat with this system, but by and large has consistently targeted the more southern counties for wintry precipitation. It looks to be primarily a snow event but there may be a mixed bag at times which would reduce the total snowfall amounts. Even so, some locations in the higher elevations of SE OK could end up with some significant totals. Also, the latest guidance has shifted the axis of heaviest precipitation further southward suggesting most of it will be along or south of I-40 and down towards the Red River. Flurries or a dusting may occur along I-44, but right now it appears most of the impacts for this system should be further south. This will be a quick hitting system occurring primarily during the day and out of the area by that evening or early night. Temperatures will remain in the 30s throughout the day Sunday.
Monday will be between systems but cloudy skies will hold daytime highs in the lower 40s at best despite a brisk SE wind.
Then there is Tuesday and the guidance continues to offer varying solutions making that time frame very interesting as well. One of the longer range products, the GFS, suggests the main storm center will be further north so that we will start off with a wintry mix or a cold rain that morning transitioning briefly over to snow that evening/night. This solution would severely limit the snowfall totals depending on the timing of the transition. Also, it suggests a dry slot would be moving overhead later in the day to limit total amounts as well. Then, there is the European solution which brings the main storm center on a more southerly track which would mean a much quicker transition to snow and snowfall totals could be more significant.
In either event, there is a very wet signal for Tuesday and the main question remains the precipitation type which will be a function of not only the surface temperature but also the vertical profile of temperature. Not a lot of confidence in any one particular solution at this time but would suspect the truth is probably somewhere between. Notice the 5 day QPF map on the right which suggests ½" or more of badly needed precipitation over the next 5 days, some of which will be wintry. We can certainly use the moisture.
By the way, there are additional systems that will be coming this way later in the week and perhaps over that following weekend as well. Each of those also promises to be rather interesting from our current perspective with additional opportunities for wintry precipitation.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.