Winter Weather Discussion 2007-1-3

Winter Weather Discussion for January 12 – 15, 2007.
Valid: 01/10/2007.

Highlights:

– Much colder temperatures on-tap for the region Sunday through Wednesday.

– Freezing rain and sleet are possible across parts of Oklahoma late Friday into Saturday night.

– Freezing rain is possible across parts of north and central Texas Saturday night into Sunday.

– Snow is possible across parts of Oklahoma and north Texas on Sunday.

Discussion:

This whole thing has gotten way out of hand with the Oklahoma City TV stations close to causing mass panic. Forecast reasoning has not changed since my prior discussion on Monday.

A Canadian airmass will move into Oklahoma/Texas panhandle Friday morning and should clear the state by late Friday. This airmass will slow as a surface low develops out west in response to a SW U.S. closed low. However, this airmass should not stall and would expect it to continue moving south across Texas. Temperatures should decrease below freezing Friday evening across much of Oklahoma as cold/dry air moves into the state. Across Texas, it will take the Arctic surge on Saturday to put temperatures below freezing over a large area.

Showers and thunderstorms are likely ahead of the cold front on Friday and into Saturday across parts of southeast Oklahoma and eastern Texas. Freezing drizzle may occur behind the front across parts of Oklahoma on Friday, however this threat should decrease as the front moves south.

Things get interesting Friday night into Sunday in areas that are below freezing. 12z NAM/UKMET have slowed the SW U.S. closed low, while the GFS remain relatively consistent. The ECMWF is odd model out with a rapid eastward movement. How much freezing rain the region gets and to some extent where depends on the timing and placement of the upper system. There is no reason to pick one model over the other. Prior trends this year (El Nino factors included) would point to the NAM as a preferred model. However, this is not the best option this far out, as any solution is possible. The ECMWF would bring a quick end to precipitation on Saturday while the other model solution would tend to result in higher chances of freezing/frozen precipitation.

It is way too early to get specific or crazy with the forecast. It is winter time and people should be prepared either way.

Aside from the freak-out about winter precip, the real story at this point is the temperatures. Across Oklahoma temperatures below freezing should occur from late Friday through Wednesday. Farther south, much below normal temperatures are likely, especially when compared to recent warm conditions. So much for global warming.

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About Putnam Reiter

Putnam has been storm chasing since 1990 and is a co-founder of Hook-Echo.com. For his day job, Putnam works in emergency management for information technology.
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