Winter Storm Promises Rain, Wind, Some Snow

Sunday, February 24th 2013, 6:31 pm
By: News On 6

All eyes are on in the incoming winter storm that will lash parts of the Southern Plains with blizzard conditions and over a foot of snow. Fortunately for us in Green Country, the worst of the storm will be to the north and west. Parts of northwestern Oklahoma will deal with winds over 50 mph, white-out conditions and snow totals exceeding 12 inches. Travel west of I-35 Monday will be tricky if not impossible.

Our snow totals will not be quite as impressive, but our moisture will be. This system will first make its presence known with increasing clouds into early Monday morning. The rain and even thunderstorms won't be far behind. A warm fetch of south-easterly winds in the lowest levels of the atmosphere will keep our precipitation liquid for the day. Rain totals may exceed an inch in some places. Needless to say, we shouldn't downplay the beneficial water our ground will receive!

However, the weather gets more interesting as we approach the evening hours on Monday. A gradual transition to snow from west to east will occur, first happening near Ponca City. High winds will accompany this colder, back side of the system. Due to warmer surface temperatures, accumulating snowfall may not be much of an issue for Tulsa to the east until late evening or overnight. Both moisture and freezing temperatures will be the two ingredients we'll closely watch that night. There are some indications drier air may cut down on the snowfall along and south of I-44. However, all of our computer models show a band of moderate snow swinging through our region early Tuesday morning, which could lead to snow totals from a dusting to 2 inches. Further north, heavier snow and higher winds will make for difficult if not impossible driving conditions. From Pawnee to Bartlesville to Independence, Kansas northward, near-blizzard conditions are possible with up to half a foot of snow.

The snow totals and impacts still are not set in stone. A small deviation of the track of the deep low-pressure system could bring the heaviest, prolonged swath of snow down into northeast Oklahoma. Thus, it's very important to keep updated on the ever-evolving situation. Right now, this appears to be a lighter snow event for Tulsa, but that could change for the worse without a big change in track. Either way, some travel impacts are expected for our region through Tuesday midday. Our attached map shows the areas with the greatest travel impacts. Be aware of some travel issues with the snow late Monday into Tuesday from Tulsa to the southeast. Prepare for travel problems north of I-44 for that same time period. A shut-down of travel in north-central Oklahoma into the northwestern portion of the state is almost a certainty as the worst of this major winter storm kicks in.

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