Tracking A Front

Monday, November 22nd 2010, 6:23 am
By: News On 6

Greetings my friends.  Here we go, now into the final home stretch before the Holiday season kicks into full gear.  And just in time, a major arctic front is still schedule to blow through the area this week.

We've been discussing this scenario for almost a solid 7 days and it continues to be somewhat of a headache discerning the timing of the frontal intrusion.  True arctic air masses are shallow in depth compared to other cold air masses and consequently are not modeled well be any computer model suite.  The models are typically too slow in bringing the air mass into a region and too fast in modifying or eroding the colder air.  The scenario I mentioned last Thursday may end up coming to pass.  The first intrusion of this a mix of arctic and pacific air will occur tonight move southward for a few hours before stalling across the I-40 area Tuesday morning.  A few showers and storms will be possible today across eastern OK.  The front will allow the Tuesday morning temperatures to be fairly cold but afternoon highs would move into the upper 50s or lower 60s by afternoon if not warmer.   

This boundary will be moving back to the north Tuesday night into Wednesday morning with a chance of showers and storms along with gusty south winds and highs in the lower 70s. 

The second and stronger push of the real arctic air will be Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.  I'm inclined to think the earlier time frame will eventually verify.  The cold front will slide well to the south and allow the coldest air of the season to sweep into the region.  Thursday morning lows will be in the lower to mid 20s with afternoon highs in the upper 30s near 40.  North winds will create wind chill values in the teens.  And to top off the issues, there should be a few showers or storms along the front as it arrives across the region either late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning.  The big question is what happens to the precipitation after the boundary moves across the region.  Most of the available moisture will be swept out of the area quickly with north wind and dry air.  But we'll be watching closely and making adjustments to the numbers later today. 

As stated previously, the models typically erode the arctic air too quickly, but in this case, I think the models may be correct in bringing us back into the mid 40s Friday afternoon and the lower 50s Saturday.  The upper air pattern will be changing this weekend allowing for the surface ridge across the central plains to break down as the upper air trough moves more to the east. Another trough will be moving across the west and this will cause another wind shift with southerly flow kicking into full gear this weekend.  But another big front is likely Monday or Tuesday of next week. 

I encourage you to get ready for this cold blast by making sure the water hose is not connected to the outside faucets and to make sure your anti-freeze is good to go.