Here we go. Warm air continues to stream rapidly northward this morning and scattered showers and storms have been occurring during the past three hours across portions of eastern OK. We are not expecting severe storms this morning but later today with low level moisture in place severe storms will be a possibility across the eastern third of the state. A pre frontal trough will be approaching this afternoon ahead of the massive cold front that will arrive later tonight. The trough will be near or along the 69-75 corridors by 1pm to 4pm and thunderstorms may erupt. Hail and wind will be the main issues but a tornado cannot be ruled out.
The actual cold front is scheduled to arrive around 1am in Tulsa and should be clearing the southeastern OK by early Thursday morning. There will remain some uncertainty about the exact timing, and this could be an issue with how long the precipitation may last across far eastern OK and western Arkansas. The general thinking is that most of the significant precip will be east by the time freezing surface temperatures really take hold. The shallow nature of the arctic air is always problematic. The winds above the shallow layer of cold air will be from the southwest, and there remains a very slight chance of light showers or drizzle for an hour or two with temperatures near freezing. This would result in a slight period of freezing rain potential or possibly a sleet mixture, but this chance remains low. We'll not be too concerned with this probability as it remains very low, but it's worth a mention. No winter watches or warnings will be required for this possibility.
The coldest air of the year will settle into the region Thursday night and early Friday morning with readings near 20 in Tulsa and some teens across northern OK and southern Kansas. Afternoon highs Friday will be in the mid to upper 40s with the air mass moderating as we progress into the weekend. The afternoon highs Saturday and Sunday will be in the 50s with breezy conditions developing Sunday ahead of the next storm system.
The upper air pattern will remain progressive for the next week and this means another major system will be nearing the area Monday night with more cold air and some rain threats.
The air mass Tuesday also looks frigid and we'll experience highs around 40 Tuesday afternoon after morning lows near or below freezing.