Mild Weekend, Winter Storm for Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 22nd 2012, 11:01 am
By: News On 6

The details remain unclear at this time with respect to Christmas Day, but the general pattern continues to support a cold, windy day with at least some snow. To put things in perspective, the most snow that has ever actually fallen on Christmas Day was 1.3" in 1975. All of that fell in the early morning hours and much of it melted before the day was over as temperatures stayed just above freezing. We have a decent shot of eclipsing that particular record this coming Christmas Day, although that is by no means certain. More about that in a moment, first let's get through the weekend and Christmas Eve.

After a very mild day today with only some high level cirrus clouds and temperatures topping out in the lower 60s, cooler air will be returning on Sunday and much cooler conditions for Monday. Brisk southerly winds today will be shifting to northerly Sunday morning and we will also have more cloud cover. That should hold daytime temperatures to near 50 which is still above normal for this time of year. Monday will see mostly cloudy skies, brisk northerly winds, and cooler conditions yet with daytime highs only in the lower 40s.

Christmas Day itself is still uncertain due to the track of a storm system that is currently in the Pacific Ocean but which will be making landfall over the course of the weekend. As it moves onshore and into a better data coverage area, then we will have a much better idea of the strength and movement of this particular storm system. So far, the guidance continues to shift back and forth between wetter and drier solutions for Christmas Day and a more northern or a more southern track of the storm center. That makes the exact positioning of the heavier snowfall totals not much more than an educated guess at this point. Having said that, the general consensus has so far favored a more southern track which if it verifies would imply the heavier snowfall totals would be along and south of I-40 where general amounts of 4" appear likely and possibly some locally higher totals. That would put the more northern counties on the northern fringe with a dusting to perhaps an inch or two. Obviously, a shift in the storm track just a little further north or a little further south would have huge implications on the location of the main snow bands.

As an example, one of the computer projections shows a belt of 4" or more of snow basically running from NW OK down to near OKC then eastward along the I-40 corridor and then NE across Arkansas. It would not take much of a shift to the north or the south to take those heavier snow bands to along the OK/KS state line or down to the Red River and that is the kind of specifics that are still lacking.

One thing is for sure, this will be the coldest we have been so far this season with daytime highs holding near the freezing mark all day Christmas, we will likely stay below freezing all day Wednesday, and will only see a slow moderation for later in the week. Also, the winds will make it feel much colder and will blow around however much snow we end up with creating some likely travel problems for Christmas and the day after.

So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot