Wednesday Morning Update

Wednesday, December 19th 2012, 6:27 am
By: Alan Crone

Expect windy conditions today with highs in the mid to upper 60s.  A slight chance of storms will remain this afternoon and tonight across eastern OK followed by a slight chance of flurries pre-dawn Thursday across the northern third of the state.  

We're tracking two systems over the next 8 days, but it's the second one getting all the attention.  As I wrote in this space yesterday morning, it's way too early in the forecast cycle to make any specific predictions regarding snow or storms for Christmas or anytime next week.  The models will change (and have changed) several times between now and this weekend before hopefully converging on a confident solution. As an example, the 12z Tuesday EURO dry slotted the state with not a drop of precip, while the GFS hammered away at a winter event. The 00z runs are now indicating more of an open long wave trough opposed to a closed low. This is a major change in the data.  I would even hesitate mentioning the possibility of any precip for another two or three days, but due to the potential travel issues involved early next week, we must make a few general statements.  The prudent call at this point is too not change any plans, but remain aware of a possible system for some time early to mid-next week.  Hopefully we'll have higher confidence levels around Friday or Saturday.  Remember, this system hasn't even formed! The main long wave trough positioned off the west coast will move eastward by the end of the week, and a possible upper level system may develop in the base of the trough or it may remain open and move quickly eastward.  Until this long wave gets on shore and into the upper air and observational networks, the data will continue to waffle from run to run. 

Today's forecast centers on an upper level wave that is ejecting across the central plains tonight into tomorrow.  This will cause a rapid development of a surface area of low pressure across NW OK this afternoon.  A dry line will extend from the low across western OK and move eastward early this evening.  A cold front will sweep into the state this afternoon and approach eastern OK tonight from 8pm to midnight with a slight chance of a shower or storm across the eastern third of the state.  Before this occurs, very strong winds are likely today across the state with 20 to 35 mph winds common across eastern OK and winds from 30 to near 50 mph located across the central and western part of the state.  High wind warnings are posted across the high plains of Texas, the panhandles, and a high wind watch is posted for western OK.  Wind advisories are hoisted into the central portion of the state.  The fire danger will be extremely high this afternoon as the dry line sweeps eastward and dry air moves into western OK.  Blowing dust will also be a major issue for western OK but its unclear how far east the dust will move. 

Our low level moisture is expected to be thin and mainly veered eastward into Arkansas where a higher chance of storms will reside.  We'll keep a 20 pop for Tulsa from late this afternoon through about 9pm or so. 

As the cold air sweeps across the state later this evening, some snow showers or flurries will be a possibility across extreme northern OK, with a slight chance of a dusting along the Kansas state line.  This will not be an impactful event even if we do experience some light snow across the northern third of the state.  Significant snowfall is likely across Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Northern and central Kansas, Northern Missouri, part of Iowa and areas just west of Chicago. 

 Temps Thursday will remain below normal with highs in the lower 40s along with gusty north winds around 20 to 30 mph.   

Friday into Saturday morning lows will be in the upper 20s or lower 30s with highs in the lower to mid 50s. A boundary may be nearby this weekend causing a few wind shifts at times across the northern part of the state but data converges with the initial movement of that  cold front.  I'll spare the nitty gritty.  The weekend will be dry but cool with highs in the lower 50s along with mostly sunny conditions.   

Monday into Christmas may be active with a storm system nearby.  Reference the above paragraph and the talk around the water cooler the past three days! 

Yesterday's high in Tulsa was 62 at 3:24pm.

Our normal average high is 48 and the low is 29. 

The daily record high is 70 recorded on this date in 1967

and the low is -1 from 1924.



Thanks for reading the morning discussion.

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Have a super day!


Alan Crone