Gradual Warming Trend, Christmas Day Looking Good.

Monday, December 23rd 2013, 3:54 pm
By: News On 6

After today, temperatures will finally start a rebound which will last through the rest of the week and into the coming weekend. However, little or no sunshine during the day today and even some brief snow will make it tough for temperatures to get above freezing again this afternoon. In fact, the last time we were ‘officially' above freezing here in Tulsa was 7:30 on the morning of the 20th. Notice the wind map on the right, courtesy of the OK Mesonet. It is not showing any wind for most of the state; not because there is no wind but because the anemometers are still covered in ice.

The ice will continue to cling to trees and power lines before a thaw finally sets in Tuesday. A rapidly moving system has produced a dusting to ½" or so of snow today for the more northern counties today. That will be followed by clearing skies which means temperatures in the teens or low 20s to start the day Tuesday. A return to southerly winds and sunny skies should bring daytime highs into at least the lower 40s for Tuesday afternoon so much of the ice will finally be melting.

We have been gradually getting rid of some of the ice anyway through a process known as sublimation. That is due to the fact that the air is very dry and although temperatures have not been above freezing for several days now, the H2O is going directly from the solid phase(ice) to the vapor phase without passing through the intermediate liquid phase. You are probably more familiar with the opposite effect when the H2O in the air goes directly from the vapor phase to the ice phase which is when frost is formed.

At any rate, what brief flurries we may see today will not add to the strain on trees and power lines and fortunately, the winds will remain on the light side as well for today and tonight. Light northerly breezes generally less than 10 mph will be the general rule through tonight, but gusty southerly winds will be returning during the day tomorrow. Since temperatures will be rapidly warming above the freezing mark as the winds increase, hopefully much of the ice will be removed before the winds cause any additional stress on the trees and power lines.

After that, the rest of the week will be rather quiet as far as the weather is concerned. Another weak cool front will arrive during Christmas Day shifting our winds back to northerly, but that will just be a bump in the road on our way to warmer temperatures as the week wears on. In fact, a return to southerly winds is expected by Thursday and southerly winds will then persist through Saturday. Low 40s are expected for afternoon highs on Christmas Eve and mid 40s for Christmas Day. Light NW winds on Christmas Day and lots of sunshine should get rid of the rest of the ice.

Daytime highs in the 50s by Friday and Saturday will be followed by another cold front to cool things down again on Sunday. However, not much precipitation is currently expected with this system and in fact no major storm systems are currently foreseen through New Years Day. Notice the 7 day QPF map on the right which keeps us high and dry through that period. So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot