Spring Fever For Now

Friday, January 28th 2011, 6:13 am
By: News On 6

Get ready for a wild ride in the weather category.  We'll be moving up today and tomorrow with afternoon highs in the upper 60s and lower 70s before plunging down into the 20's and 30's next week as a major storm system approaches the area.   There will be a threat of some winter precipitation early next week. 

We hit the lower 60s yesterday and today we should be even warmer.  The computer model output has consistently been a few degrees low this week.  We've tried to compensate for this by increasing the daytime highs above guidance but the actual daytime highs have been even a few degrees warmer.  This means we'll again go about 4 to 5 degrees above the computer solutions and could end up being a degree or two below the mark today.  

The first surge of cold air doesn't appear to arrive until late Saturday evening and therefore I have brought the Saturday highs back into the upper 60s and lower 70s with south winds at 10 to 15 mph.  The cold front will move across northern OK around 1AM Sunday morning while an upper level system will be passing the state to our south.  This system will be close enough to produce some rain across East Texas and possibly into southeastern OK.  I have kept a slight chance of showers for Sunday in the forecast but mainly for the southern and far eastern sections of the state.

 Monday and Tuesday will be the focus for a major winter storm to approach the area.  

This system will continue to flip around in the model data for several days and we'll be making changes from now until Sunday regarding the system and its impact on the area.  EURO data has now trended more northward with the track of the system compared to yesterdays southern route.  This totally changes the thermal structure of the atmosphere and therefore the type of precipitation.  EURO data would keep us above freezing until late Tuesday evening, and therefore most of the precipitation would be a cold rain.

 The GFS data a few days ago was supporting a major snow storm.  Yesterday's data supported significant icing before changing to sleet and then snow.  Today's data continues to lean toward rain, change to freezing rain, and then sleet before ending with snow Tuesday evening.

 The GEM data would mainly support heavy wet snow for most of the event.

 Needless to say, we still have many days until this system arrives, but the confidence regarding the system will remain low until it gets closer to land.  These systems are usually not sampled correctly until the storm gets closer to the North American continent. This will not happen until the second half of the weekend. 

 What does all of this mean?  We have high confidence of a major winter storm approaching the area Monday evening into Tuesday.  But the exact thermal structure of the system will not be known with any confidence for a few more days.  Enjoy the warmer air today and tomorrow and then remain aware of the major changes that are possible early next week.