Our winter has already featured some harsh cold spells, snow and ice, and as we head into the new year, the wintry weather won't let up. Fortunately, 2013 has ended with a final week or so of quiet conditions and our New Year's Eve will even bring a nice warm-up.
Before we move forward, here's a quick look back at what Mother Nature brought us in 2013. For the first time in several years, Tulsa had a cooler than average year with only three months (January, June and September) above normal. Our hottest day was August 31st with a high of 102° and the coldest was December 7th with a low of 7°. We ended up with a nearly 8" rainfall deficit for the year, making it a drier year as well. Drought continued in the year, especially in areas south and west of Tulsa. Flooding also occurred on a few occasions, especially for far eastern Oklahoma back in the spring. We can't forget the devastating tornadoes that struck central Oklahoma in May, particularly in Moore and near El Reno. We also had our fair share of tornadoes in our part of the state with several EF-2 twisters occurring north and east of Tulsa. 56 tornadoes total were reported statewide. Late on July 23rd, a powerful squall line brought 80+mph winds to the Tulsa metro area, knocking down countless trees and power lines. We didn't see any major snowstorms in our part of the state, but we did end up with quite the ice storm a few weeks ago – our most recent brush with damaging weather.
As we kick off the New Year, our nice little warming trend will come to an end as another cold front sweeps into the region Wednesday. An upper-level impulse will allow a snow band to form and brush across northern Oklahoma that evening, leaving some of us with up to an inch of accumulation. With temperatures in the 20s, some roads could become slick into Thursday morning. The attached map shows our idea of snow distribution – all of it rather light.
After a cold Thursday where temperatures struggle to get above freezing mark, we'll see more seasonable cool conditions for the weekend. The series of cold fronts continue late this week into early next week. The one on Saturday will be lacking moisture, but could spawn a few flurries. A much stronger Arctic front arrives Monday without much moisture but a few snow showers are still possible. Of more concern are the plummeting temperatures as one of the coldest air masses in years descends from the Arctic into the Lower 48, centered over the Midwest. Temperatures on Monday won't likely rise above the 20s as wind chill values hover near 0°. The first two weeks of January are the coldest time of the year, and it appears 2014 will make that a reality for us. The second map shows a projection of those readings by next Tuesday morning. Brrrr!