Hoping you and yours have had a very Merry Christmas. The winter storm that we have been talking about for days did indeed materialize, but was largely confined to locations along and south of I-40. Reports of as much as 6-8" of snow in some of the higher terrain areas have come in and the snow was still falling at that time. Most locations received much less than that, and the more NE counties only had a brief flurry or two. Such is the nature of winter storms. A change of only a degree or two in the position of the main storm center can result in major changes in the location and amount of the wintry precipitation as well as the precipitation type.
As an example, the image on the right is from one of the computer models we routinely use and was initialized at 6 AM this past Sunday. The forecast time period that is shown would have been valid at 3PM this afternoon. The color scale shows more than ½" of precipitation would have fallen over much of NE OK in the 3 hours leading up to 3PM. The preceding and subsequent 3 hour periods were equally as wet which implied at total of 1-2" of liquid precipitation which in turn implies 10-20" of snowfall given the thermal considerations. Obviously, the main storm track was several degrees further south and the total precipitation was reduced, but they still got a good soaking across the extreme SE corner as some of those counties picked up as much as 1/2 " rain before it turned to snow.
It is all over but the shouting now and we are left with the coldest air of the season for the next few days. Temperatures did not make it above freezing today and will struggle to get above the freezing mark on Wednesday. In fact, we will start the day off with temperatures in the teens but with northerly winds around 20 mph the wind chill values will be near zero. That is a mighty cold start to the day.
Fortunately, we will have lots of sunshine and those winds will be settling down that afternoon and evening. We will moderate some for Thursday before another rapidly moving system approaches the state on Friday. This system could produce another quick shot of wintry precipitation. However, current indications suggest that it is not nearly as strong as what we experienced today. But, thermal considerations suggest that if any precipitation does occur, we could receive a quick inch or so of snow. Still too early to get too excited about those prospects, but certainly something we will be closely watching.
That will keep temperatures cooler than normal going into the coming weekend, but we should begin to moderate by Monday and Tuesday. Another rapidly moving system will also be approaching on New Year's Eve but we will have moderated enough by then that anything that falls will be liquid.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.