Tracking Another Snow System

Monday, February 7th 2011, 5:38 am
By: News On 6

A few clouds will continue this morning and brief snow flurries cannot be ruled out across southern Kansas or  northern OK during the next few hours.  Highs today will be in the 30s with some sun.  The weather will deteriorate quickly Tuesday evening as another major storm system approaches the state.

The main focus of the forecast will be centered on the Tuesday evening and Wednesday time period as once again another strong upper level system will move across the area.  Snowfall will be likely and some significant amounts of snow will also be likely.  The system is currently diving down through the Pacific Northwest.  This upper air feature should arrive Tuesday evening as a mid wave trough.  EURO and GFS data support some moderate to heavy snowfall potential with GFS data supporting higher amounts across the Red River Valley with EURO data suggesting the moderate to heavy snow will be across Northern OK. NAM solutions continue to crank out very high snow totals over northern OK.   A winter storm watch is underway this morning for almost the entire area and portions of the watch area will be upgraded to a warning later today.   The first snowfall forecast this morning would call for 5 to 10 inches of snow in Tulsa beginning late Tuesday evening across northwestern OK and spreading across the Tulsa area by pre-dawn Wednesday.  The system would be exiting the state by 6pm Wednesday evening.  Much colder air will also be arriving Tuesday as another surge of arctic air plunges southward.  EURO interpolation from surface temperature plots place northern OK in the teens Wednesday for both morning lows and afternoon highs with Thursday morning lows dropping into the -4 range and Thursday afternoon highs in the lower 20s.  North wind will create wind chill values in the -10 to -25 ranges during this time period. 

 A quick study last night indicated a wide range of possible snow totals.  Most of the data were clustered from 4 to near 7 inches, with one model suite a low end outlier in the 4 inch range, and one model the outlier on the high end range with a very high snow total near Tulsa.  I have used a compromise blend of the GFS and EURO.  This would support a 5 to near 10 inch possibility with some locally higher amounts in the 10 inch range.  I would greatly love to see this system dive more southward.  If the more northward plots verify, we will again be in store for a few days of rough travel, no school, and hard core cabin fever.  The exact path of the system will have direct impacts on the snowfall accumulation forecast.  These numbers will probably oscillate over the next 24 hours.  

 As I stated last week, the overall pattern will be undergoing a major pattern change by the end of this week.  The result will be a trough and ridge replacement cycle with a mid level ridge developing across the southwest.  This will bring some relatively warmer air into the region around Sunday and Monday February 12-13th and continuing through Tuesday the 15th.  The pattern may also bring another storm system into the southern plains Wednesday of next week but with some warmer air.  Stay tuned.