Our weather pattern is a bit goofy these days. A strong upper-level low brought us multiple days of wet, unsettled weather. As that pulls away from the region, warm air surges into Oklahoma ahead a strong Arctic cold front that could even bring a little wintry weather. Needless to say, this pattern will keep all of us on our toes.
First, we'll talk about the wet. The rainfall totals were a bit disappointing in northeastern Oklahoma. However, as I write this, a nice swath of rain lies from Tulsa to the east, moving north. Totals ranged from a third of an inch of rain to well over an inch in areas near the Red River and in far western Oklahoma. Even if it wasn't a deluge, it was beneficial to fighting our drought. A prolonged rain event with cool weather allows for little moisture to be lost due to evaporation. It was a soaking rain, just not a heavy one. The attached map shows the storm total as of 2pm Thursday. Another quarter-inch of rain is possible for portions of Green Country before the system is out of here.
Now, to the warm. Strong, southerly winds ensue Friday, induced by a deepening low pressure system pushing into the Plains states. Attached to this low pressure is a cold front with an Arctic air mass behind it. Before it reaches us, enough sunshine, south winds, and an already mild start to the day Friday will bring our temperatures to near 70º by afternoon – that's almost 25º above normal! We won't best our record high of 80º for the date, but it will be a very early taste of spring.
The warmth is short-lived: by Saturday, we are onto the cold part of the forecast. We slide back into winter as temperatures hold steady or fall through the 40s during the day. The initial cold front will move through dry, but overrunning moisture may allow for some late day showers, especially east of Tulsa. As colder air settles in and moisture remains, there may be a window of time with a wintry mix or even snow. Most of the computer models are shortening the length of this window and have the precipitation mainly east of Tulsa. However, any slight shift in the data could point to significant travel issues Sunday morning. As of now, a brief period of freezing rain or sleet is possible for far eastern Oklahoma, tapering off with a few snowflakes Saturday night. It's possible the timing of the moisture and cold just doesn't match up so we are left with few issues. Even if that's the case, any standing water on roadways could become black ice. Stay tuned to our latest forecast and use caution Sunday morning as temperatures will almost definitely be below-freezing.
The cold theme continues into much of next week, but the active weather stays east so we stay dry. Highs in the 30s to mid-40s with lows in the 20s and upper teens appear likely. This is slightly below normal, but nothing extreme. It may be a preview for a more substantial cold blast coming late next week as a strong Arctic low funnels down even more cold air our way.