Spring-Like Rains and a Return to Winter

Thursday, February 7th 2013, 2:53 pm
By: News On 6

It's a good afternoon for a hot cup of a tea and blanket. Scattered showers and drizzle are making for a dreary Thursday afternoon around Tulsa. This is the first of three rounds of precipitation in the next 7 days. I can't remember the last time we could say that in the span of a week! This is especially welcome news considering our current state of the drought. Though we've seen some improvement from previous rain events in the past two weeks, most of Oklahoma remains in the dreaded red or brown colors indicating the two worst categories of drought. Far eastern Oklahoma did see some improvement as shown in the first attached map.

This initial system is a bit of a dud in terms of rainfall totals. It's a weaker system for now and the instability is lacking for stronger convection. However, this is just a precursor to a stronger storm system that will move through the region in two parts, starting this weekend. After a measly quarter-inch of rain or so today, we'll have a lull in the action until Saturday afternoon. A deep trough in the jet stream will fire lots of energy (high winds and spin in the wind field aloft) into the Plains, allowing for scattered showers and storms to increase. The actual dry line will sweep through Green Country Sunday morning with another round of rain/thunderstorms. A few of them could be severe with high winds the main threat. Overall, that could leave us with 5-day rain totals as shown above.

A portion of that upper-level trough lingers behind around the Four-Corners region and will push through a few days later. With cooler air in place, this system could bring a round of light snow to Oklahoma. The latest computer models bring minimal accumulation to our region, especially with above-freezing temperatures during the day Tuesday. Once this system is better sampled by upper-air weather equipment over the continental United States and that data is ingested into our computer models, we should have a clearer idea if this will be a travel issue for us or not. Still, this is the best news for snow-lovers that we've had in weeks!

Snow-lovers would REALLY love to be in New England this weekend. A Nor'easter of historic proportions will form, partially with the storm system moving over us now. This deep low pressure system off the northeast coast of the U.S. will rapidly strength, bring a major fetch of moisture in from the ocean, and wallop that region with high winds over 50 mph at times. That leaves the region with a paralyzing blizzard with 1 to 2 FEET of snow expected. Any travel in and out of Boston, Providence, and New York will likely be snarled for several days. It's hard to believe these light showers over us now will, with the help of another piece of upper-level energy, transform into such a doozy of a snowstorm!

I'll keep you updated with the latest on the thunderstorm and snow potential on Twitter: @GroganontheGo and on Facebook – be sure to "like" my page!