Freezing precip and lack of precip, both discussed by Gary McManus, state climatologist
Two big weather stories going on today:
First the frozen precip in the forecast.
What’s gonna happen is we’re gonna get a real nasty shot of cold air on Saturday overnight into Sunday and then moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is going to run up over the top of that and produce some type of frozen/near-frozen precip from Saturday into Sunday. For now, I’ll just show you what the NWS folks are saying.
And from the local offices’ forecast discussions.
National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office: ” … IT APPEARS ALL OF THE ABOVE WILL SUPPORT ICE ACCUMULATION ACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA. IT IS DIFFICULT TO TELL HOW MUCH WILL OCCUR…BUT WITH TEMPS EXPECTED TO RAPIDLY FALL THROUGH MON AM SUSPECT THERE WILL BE SOME TRAVEL PROBLEMS. FURTHER TO THE NORTH…MORE MID TO UPPER MOISTURE WILL SUPPORT SNOW AND SLEET NEAR NORTHERN/NORTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA SUNDAY. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS WILL LIKELY REMAIN NORTH OF OUR FORECAST AREA..BUT AGAIN SOME SLICK CONDITIONS WILL DEFINITELY BE POSSIBLE.”
National Weather Service, Tulsa Forecast Office: “TEMPERATURES WILL QUICKLY DROP BEHIND THE FRONT AND PRECIPITATION WILL INITIALLY BEGIN AS FREEZING RAIN SATURDAY NIGHT…TRANSITIONING TO SLEET ACROSS NE OK DURING THE DAY SUNDAY AS THE COLDER AIR SURGES IN THE AREA. STILL SOME UNCERTAINTY CONCERNING ICE/SLEET AMOUNTS AND THIS WILL LIKELY DEPEND ON HOW QUICKLY DRY SLOT MOVES OVER DURING THE DAY SUNDAY. MOST OF THE PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO FALL AS FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WITH LIMITED SNOW ACCUMULATIONS SUNDAY NIGHT BEFORE ENDING BY MONDAY MORNING. PERSONS SHOULD MONITOR THE FORECASTS INTO THE WEEKEND AS ICE/SLEET AMOUNTS CONTINUE TO BE REFINED.”
One of the problems here is that what falls on Sunday into Monday morning might stick for awhile since the cold air is going to stick around, creating travel problems that morning.
Also, “Drought Continues to Advance across Oklahoma
The newest Drought Monitor map says it all, with all of those lovely non-dry white areas disappearing off the map from last week to this week. So for the first time since September 10, 2013, all of Oklahoma is back into at least the Abnormally Dry (D0) designation. Now keep in mind that D0 is not a drought specification, but it does signify areas headed towards drought without intervening precipitation. It can also be used to show areas COMING OUT of drought (D1-D4), but that’s not the case here. Additionally, The amount of Moderate (D1) drought increased from 19% last week to 34% this week, mostly across north central and NE Oklahoma. In all, the amount of the state within
some drought intensity (D1-D4) increased from 47% to 62%.
We’ve talked about the reasons for this cool-season intensification of drought several times recently … simply put, we’ve had one of the driest winters on record this year. And that’s on top of pressures put on the state from the previous three years of persistent drought (inter-mixed with periods of relief) across the eastern two-thirds of the state.
Preliminary data from the Oklahoma Mesonet shows that climatological winter (December 1-February 28) is going to finish somewhere around the 11th driest on record with a statewide average of 2.31 inches, nearly 3 inches below normal. Here are the top-12 driest winters dating back to 1895 in Oklahoma (actually top-13 with this year thrown in).
Rank Winter Period Statewide Avg.
1 1908 – 1909 1.24″
2 2005 – 2006 1.56″
3 1917 – 1918 1.67″
4 1962 – 1963 1.90″
5 1900 – 1901 2.04″
6 1916 – 1917 2.05″
7 1975 – 1976 2.12″
8 1966 – 1967 2.19″
9 1901 – 1902 2.21″
10 1958 – 1959 2.22″
11 2013 – 2014 2.31″
12 1903 – 1904 2.54″
13 2010 – 2011 2.68″
I wanted to get 2010-11 in there because that’s the period where this whole mess really got it’s start, so you can see just how little this dry winter has helped the situation any. For specific areas of the state, such as NE, central and west central Oklahoma, the winter is likely to finish in the top-5 driest.
This is why the moisture we receive from this winter system, while aggravating and possibly even dangerous, is still so important. Of course it would be nice to see this as rain instead of freezing rain/sleet/snow, but how often do we get a “nice and easy” rain here in Oklahoma? Many times, bad things go along with our precipitation. Here’s a look at how much we can look for in the next seven days (sorry, Altus!). This is through next Thursday morning.
If we do see upwards of 1.5 inches across parts of eastern Oklahoma, then we can possibly start erasing more of that yellow. From that graphic, however, it would appear the colors across the rest of the state will be sticking around.
A bit farther out, the CPC 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks show increased odds of dry-to-normal precipitation and colder than normal temperatures from the March 4 through March 12 period.