For the first time in nearly 2 weeks, temperatures went above normal. Those readings approached 60°, but it might as well have been 80° from the way it felt. Gorgeous weather has returned to Green Country, melting even the largest of snow piles left in the wake of our winter storm a week ago.
We've got some chilly nights and mild days ahead. To make it even nicer, wind speeds will be at a minimum through Tuesday. Those winds pick up Wednesday as, you guessed it, another storm system pushes our direction. All of our forecasting eyes are on what happens next weekend with winter weather potential. See the first map for that temperature trend for the week ahead.
There's quite a bit of uncertainty this far out about this next visit from Old Man Winter. The most certain matter is that the cold air arrives by Friday. Fortunately, our computer models have tempered the harshness of the Arctic air a bit. Those same computer models are in significant disagreement about when the upper-level low pressure arrives to bring the energy for precipitation. More and more, it appears that the moisture won't reach us until Saturday night into Sunday and that there may be less cold air available at that point for wintry weather. Travelers will shrug and say that's just fine with them while those dreaming of a White Christmas may be disheartened a bit.
We'll get a better idea of how this system will impact us by midweek, but until then, here are my thoughts. Arctic air is very dense and hard to remove at the surface once it pushes in behind a cold front. The colder air at the upper-levels may not quite make it here though, so precipitation may form up there in the clouds as rain, but fall into sub-freezing air near the surface. That's the set-up for ice. As of now, we stick to the term wintry mix since it allows us more flexibility since these are very tough matters to narrow down. Hopefully, we'll see either rain or snow and nothing in between, but I would prepare for some messy weather either way. I'm sure retailers won't welcome news of bad weather on the final weekend of Christmas shopping!
It's a forecast to watch closely and we'll hope that the travel impacts will be minimal, but the set-up for a White Christmas might be there. In Tulsa, we average a White Christmas (1" of snow or more on the ground to start the day) only 5%-8% of the years. (See attached map) I'd say our chances are better than that this year, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it at this point.