Another morning of very cold air is underway with some sub zero temperatures in a few locations across the deep snow pack of northern OK.
We expect warmer air today with highs approaching the 40 degree mark for a large portion of the coverage area. The exception will be over the deep snow pack where readings may stay around 32 to 36 for the afternoon.
The upper air pattern is changing. We've been writing about this change for a while, but it appears we'll start to see this showing up in the form of warmer air soon. This effectively will help to shove the polar jet northward while a mid level ridge of high pressure will develop across the southwestern portions of the country by early next week. A remarkable change will occur with our temperatures. The morning lows by next Wednesday and Thursday will be in the upper 40s and 50s while the afternoon highs will move into the 60s and lower 70s. Again, this will not occur until the middle of next week, but our readings will be moderating quickly with warmer air likely by Sunday and Monday. A weak boundary should slide across the northern third of the state Monday, but this will have little impact on sensible weather.
Before hand, we'll continue to be relatively cold today. It will "feel" warmer even though many locations will remain well below normal today and tomorrow.
The record low temperatures yesterday morning were nothing short of remarkable for our state. Nowata, once the power was restored, ended up reporting a -31F. The Tulsa reading shortly after 7AM yesterday was -12F. Portions of our state yesterday morning were effectively colder than some reporting stations in Alaska and even the North Pole regions!
The Tulsa temperature yesterday morning qualified as the 5th coldest temperature on record. The all time record low in Tulsa was -16 from 1930.
Are we finished with winter? No. We still have plenty of "winter " left before the pattern transitions squarely into spring. The pattern for the next 8 to 10 days will give us a break.
I am reminded that a few of the states large snow events have occurred in March.
March 16, 1970: 20 inches of snow in Bartlesville.
March 13, 1999: 19 inches of snow in Medford.
March 4-5, 1989: 18 inches of snow in Kansas, OK and Delaware County with near Blizzard conditions across south central OK.
We're working on day 12 of snow on the ground for Tulsa and the surrounding areas. The snow pack will continue to stick around for a while longer, but the expected pattern should start to eat away at the cover early next week. The huge drifts of snow piled on parking lots and street corners may surprise us and last longer than one would imagine. Next week, when we hit the lower 70s Thursday, it's possible that your local grocery store parking lot may still have a pile of very dirty looking snow while most of the open ground area will be void of the white stuff.
We're also working on day 9 of no school for the Tulsa metro area, and there will be some districts that will remain out early next week due to the deep snow pack across extreme northeastern OK.
Administrators have made the call in keeping kids home. While major streets have been clear in the last day or two, early morning problems have led to many accidents. But some neighborhood streets have continued to be problematic for normal vehicle travel. School buses may have had problems in many of these neighborhoods. But one of the main issues would be the safety of children walking to school. Street corners have high snow piles blocking the view of motorists and pedestrians. If secondary streets are still covered, I doubt clearing sidewalks would be a high priority. I have no idea how administrators will resolve the missed school days, but I'm sure the correct decisions will be made.
Thanks for reading the blog and have a super weekend.