So first things first, another strong cold front moves into Oklahoma today driving temperatures back down. Here is how things will look tonight at midnight for the celebration, chilly with a stiff north wind around 20 mph at times!
With the cold arctic air in place and weak low level lift and jet stream overhead, I do expect a few snow flurries from time to time across the state beginning in the evening on New Year’s Day and continuing into Wednesday. That’s when all eyes focus on our next winter storm system you’ve heard me talk about for a couple of weeks now. Details are becoming more clear and models are settling down on a solution, and it’s very interesting indeed!
During the day on Wednesday, expect heavier precipitation to move in from Texas in the form of rain across far SE OK, changing into sleet and freezing rain as you work back towards C OK with it transitioning to snow. Amounts will increase with time into Thursday as the upper level storm system moves across. Roadways will likely deteriorate Wednesday evening where the icy stuff has fallen and then where the heavier snow occurs on Thursday.
Remember, to get a good snow storm you need cold enough temperatures aloft and a small compact upper level low moving directly overhead. It finally looks like we’ll get both of these which should make for some excellent snow totals across the region.
First up, here’s a quick look at the freezing rain area, accumulations around 0.25″ look conservative. So a few spots may get a little more than that and there will be some sleet mixed in closer to the I-44 corridor. Main impact is elevated surfaces and bridges.
As the upper low moves across the region, the snow will fall in abundance and heavy at times. The heaviest placement will depend on the exact track of the upper low. As a result, models vary in output, but at the very least a few inches to as much as a foot in remote areas. Yes that’s what an upper low can do for you. However, we’re in that 48-72 hour forecast window, so expect these numbers to change still and likely come down some. Regardless, looks like a great snow event!
I like this model snapshot for Wednesday afternoon showing the delineation lines between the rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Color coded by the legend at the right.
Some early model snowfall projections with the track of the upper low indicate how a slight drift changes everything for one particular location. The more southern track along the Red River the more snow OKC will see. The more northward track and the heavier snow bands move north with it. So it will be exciting to see the exact track revealed in the coming days.
So what’s the take home? Another winter storm is on the way with effects occurring as early as Wednesday afternoon and lasting for about 24-36 hours. The potential is there not only for significant ice, but a lot of snow too. What’s the difference between this storm and the one that vaporized at the beginning of the month you may ask? This time around the upper low is coming in from the Rockies south and then east, so it’s being sampled extremely well by our instrument balloon network. The other storm was over the Pacific and then moved into areas that aren’t sampled well. The models couldn’t get a good handle on the outcome until it was finally sampled by our network 36 hours out from the event. So I’m confident this time around we’ll see some real winter weather around Oklahoma. Please share and stay tuned for updates! -AT