Winter Weather Discussion 2008-5-2

Winter Weather Discussion for March 6-7, 2008.
Valid: 03/05/2008.

*Significant Snowstorm for Oklahoma*

– Winter Storm Warning is posted for parts of central Oklahoma and points just east and southeast. Snowfall totals of 4-8 inches are expected. The best time for frozen precipitation will be from Thursday morning through Friday morning.

– Winter Storm Watch is posted for much of southeast through east-central Oklahoma and a few areas in northeast sections. Snowfall totals of 4-8 inches are expected. This watch will likely be upgraded to a warning Thursday morning. The best time for precipitation will be from Thursday afternoon through Friday.

– Winter Weather Advisory is posted for 1-3 inches of snow in Logan and Canadian Counties, and points southwest through Thursday evening.

– Travel across these ares Thursday afternoon through Friday is strongly discouraged.

– The existence of heavy wet snow may disrupt major lifelines (transportation and power).

Discussion:

First off, this has the potential to be another bust forecast as the amount of snowfall in Oklahoma City is completely contingent on the track of the upper system. This was an issue last weekend and may very well be another. However, recent model runs cannot be ignored and issuing watches/warnings is the most prudent action.

Southern stream shortwave trof will dig southward into New Mexico tonight as large northern stream low remains across eastern Canada. At the surface a Canadian cold front has pushed through central Oklahoma and will continue a southward push the next few hours. The boundary should stall close to the Red River.

Afternoon analysis indicates 45-55 degree dewpoints on the Gulf Coast. Some of this moisture will attempt to return north as the upper system approaches later tonight into Thursday. NAM model is very aggressive with precipitation totals in the WAA pattern, with two feet of snow in southeast Oklahoma per 12z/18z NAM QPF progs. This is an extreme outlier and likely does not represent the actual result. However, the GFS is rather bullish on QPF totals but much more reasonable. Now, in the other corner is the 12z ECMWF and RPM model. I don't actually look at the RPM model, but relayed analysis indicates that both of these develop very little snow across central OK.

The tough part of this is once again central Oklahoma is on the northern snow gradient. If current trends are correct then southern areas of Oklahoma City may receive 3-5 inches of snow with northern areas 1-3. Farther south and east, there is a much better chance of significant snowfall of 4-8 inches. Fort Worth NWS isn't too high on snow chances for north Texas, but wouldn't be surprised for a few Red River TX counties to get some action. They are thinking that DFW might see one inch of snow, but I certainly understand why they're holding off on an advisory.

I think the above highlights are a good compromise of available model data, although changes are likely.

Thanks for the coordination Brad and Andy.


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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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