Winter Weather Discussion 2008-4-4

Winter Weather Discussion for February 14 – 17, 2008.
Valid: 02/13/2008.

Highlights:

– Winter precipitation is possible late Thursday into early Friday, most likely freezing rain for southern Oklahoma into north Texas.

– Winter precipitation is expected Saturday and/or Sunday for parts of Oklahoma and Texas. A mixed bag is possible and of course, could be just rain.

Discussion:

00z NAM has trended strongly to the GFS solution from last night, the one I bashed. Now, it appears that the ECMWF/GFS/NAM all agree on the system speed. As such, the southern stream closed low is expected to dig into old Mexico and slowly move east over the next few days. On Sunday morning the closed low is progged to be in central Texas. Now, there are north/south displacement issues among the models and that does complicate matters. However, it is nice to have timing down at this point. Another issue that will likely plague this forecast throughout the event is precipitation type. Models really want to warm the surface and 925mb areas on Saturday into Sunday. Arctic air is rarely a rapid mover and quite difficult to modify. With expected cloud cover, the lack of sun should result in very slow modification.

For now, I'm not going to get too detailed in forecast issues beyond Friday night. The NWS has done the smart thing and kept POPs going through Sunday. I want to monitor model trends the next few days and see what happens. i do think there will be an area of snow in central Texas early Sunday as the cold core moves across.

Current indications are that the Arctic cold front will blast through Oklahoma by late afternoon Thursday and through Texas by Friday morning. Weak lift along the front may result in freezing rain across southeast Oklahoma into Northeast Texas. Doesn't look like a lot but it doesn't take much freezing rain. The impetus for this activity is several weak shortwave trofs moving across the region.

By late Friday the upper system is close enough to result in WAA across much of Texas. The NAM is rather robust with precipitation amounts and given dewpoints near 70F in the Gulf and 850mb dewpoints of 12C. This precipitation may expand northward and if it does we'll have to monitor temperature trends. Lots to go and this could be a nothing event, just too tough to call right now.

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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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