Another roller-coaster ride begins today before ending later this week bringing the coldest air of the winter season into the weekend. Coats out the door today but you’ll transition to a jacket for the middle of the week before arctic air takes a run at Oklahoma this weekend.
Once again, a McFarland signature is evident in the longer-range data for the end of this week. This is the second time in the past three weeks this pattern has attempted to evolve in the weather. While we did get a taste of very cold air the last time this signature was present, it was not bitterly cold and most of the arctic air remained locked-up to our north. As it stands now, this signature has a better chance of verifying with true arctic air invading the nation, and a better chance of the leading edge moving across northern OK this weekend. Before this pattern begins to bring the colder air, we’re in a holding pattern that brings a mid-level ridge of high pressure from the Mexican Plateau northward through the southern plains, including all of Oklahoma. Basically, this ridge will be the dominant feature today and tomorrow before moving east as the first longwave trough across the western U.S. moves eastward by the middle of the week increasing winds Wednesday and bringing a strong cold front across the state Thursday.
Once again, the issue regarding our sensible weather today will be the influence of low-level clouds. This morning the cloud deck is located near and east of the Tulsa metro with clear sky west. We’ll keep it a sun-cloud mix for the day, but some sunshine will be expected near and west. I’ll keep locations west of the metro near 50 and locations east of Tulsa into the mid to upper 40s. North winds will remain for most of the day but should remain around 10 mph. South winds return late tonight into Tuesday and should help l continue this warming trend Tuesday with highs in the mid-50s and Wednesday with highs in the mid-60s. South winds will increase speeds Tuesday but will be more notably strong Wednesday with speeds from 20 to 30 mph.
The first front moves across the area Thursday bringing a chance for a few showers ahead of the boundary Thursday evening and supports a very low chance of precipitation behind the front late Thursday night into Friday morning. The air will be cold enough for some wintry precipitation, but the overall impact will remain low and mostly along the I-40 corridor. Thursday morning will be mild with temps in the 50s, and moving into the lower 60s by the noon hour before dropping into the lower 40s with gusty north winds Thursday afternoon. South winds will quickly return early Friday and bring the highs back into the upper 40s Friday afternoon.
The second and stronger front arrives Saturday with gusty north winds and falling temps. We start Saturday with a low near freezing but the boundary should arrive at midday and keep highs near the upper 30s before falling Saturday afternoon and evening into the 20s. This will bring the coldest air of the season Sunday morning with lows in the lower to mid-teens and highs remaining the upper 20s to lower 30s. At this point, the data remain highly inconsistent but does support at least a mention for some light snow moving across the northeastern section of the state with a fast-moving disturbance Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. This shallow, arctic air mass is expected to persist for a few days early next week.
The main take-away for this weekend will be colder air arriving. Some minor wintry precipitation is possible, but chances will remain low for this forecast cycle.
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