Winter Weather Discussion 2009-7-7

Winter Weather Discussion for December 24-25, 2009.
Valid: 12/24/2009.

*Significant Winter Storm to Impact a large part of Oklahoma*
*The NWS has noted this as a life threatening situation*

Highlights:

– As noted yesterday, a short-fused blizzard warning may be issued for
parts of Oklahoma later today. A blizzard warning is in effect for
five counties in the Texas panhandle. 74 of Oklahoma's 77 Counties
are in a winter weather highlight.

– Winter Storm Warning for ALL of Oklahoma except the northwest eight
counties and the panhandle. Southwest, central, north-central, and
south-central Oklahoma, 4-8 inches of snow; with a max of 8-11 inches
from Lawton to Pauls Valley. Southeast Oklahoma 4-5 inches of snow.
Northeast Oklahoma 3-4 inches of snow.

– Winter Weather Advisory for the northwest eight counties. Snow
accumulations of 3-5 inches.

– While snow is this expected precipitation type later today. Before
a change-over occurs, there will be a period of freezing rain and
sleet across the state. This will cause travel problems and isolated
power outages.

– Bitterly cold temperatures will arrive in-wake of this system and
very strong winds. Temperatures will likely not get much above
freezing for the next seven days.

– Precipitation should end across the state by early Friday.

Discussion:

06z special sounding indicated a saturated atmosphere up to 800mb and
then goes below freezing just below 700mb. There was a substantial
warm-nose between 800mb-700mb, which will likely keep precipitation in
the sleet and freezing rain form longer than originally thought.
Freezing rain and sleet are a major concern as these tend to have more
impacts on travel and infrastructure. At this point, I do not see an
ice storm as most amounts should be below 0.50 inches. However, a
little bit of ice goes a long ways.

The storm system is behaving much as expected from the 00z runs, the
main trouble is nailing down precipitation type and amounts for the
state. Discussions will be issued periodically during the day.

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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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