There’s really no other way to put it. Once temperatures fall to around 15 degrees, pipes will start to burst around this part of the country. In addition to that, hypothermia will be an issue as temperatures fall closer too and below zero degrees with wind chill values well into the negatives. When this happens, we typically lose pets, and loved ones due to the cold. Kids will often test the ice on local ponds and lakes to their detriment. There is a lot of inherent danger during prolonged cold snaps like the one we will be experiencing over the next 10+ days.

Wind chill chart for hypothermia.

This blog entry will be a mix of the forecast and how to prepare and what to watch out for.

First off, reinforcing shots of cold air will invade every couple of days. As we head later into the period we usually see a little bit of light snow get squeezed out of the sky in this pattern. At the beginning, expect freezing drizzle off/on through midweek. This can cause a quick problem on area roads, especially bridges and overpasses. So be extra careful driving around. Take your foot off the gas and slow down approaching these spots. Never brake on the ice to slow down, you’ll lose control. You can downshift your transmission to help slow you down, should you find yourself in a bad spot. Have supplies in your vehicle in case you run into trouble.

Why do bridges freeze first?

Dangers of black ice.

Vehicle safety kit items.

The first front will arrive into the state later tonight and work slowly southward. You can see the position of the front by the blue color line in the maps by afternoon. Notice how wind chill values are already becoming a factor. The front should move into the OKC metro area by mid morning.

Arctic frontal position noted by blue line Mon aft.

Wind chill values Monday afternoon.

As we get later into the week, models continue to indicate a weak storm system as we head into Valentine’s Day weekend. So expect at least a little sleet and snow. I’ll have more on amounts as we get closer to that timeframe. The big story will be the temperatures and wind anyway. We’re not alone in this, check out temperatures and wind chill values this Saturday in C Canada. Readings as cold as -70 degrees F. This is due to the Polar Vortex anchoring across that area this week and unleashing the brutally cold arctic air. That cold air then spills southward into the US.

Jet stream position on Saturday. Polar Vortex noted by L.

Temperatures Sat am.

Wind chills Saturday the 13th.

Long-term trend shows this cold spell is here to stay. So you’ll need to watch for symptoms of hypothermia should you be outdoors for an extended period or even a short period if not well protected.

Temperature trend in OKC.

How to dress during the bitter cold snap.

Staying warm if power goes out.

I’ll have more throughout the week with evening live broadcasts around 9:15pm. Make sure you check your Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube settings to get notifications. Also download my free weather app, ATsWeatherToGo. I provide a direct link to road conditions inside the app which you’ll find important during this event. Brace yourself, it’s going to be a rough period. -AT

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