Winter Storm Warning – Feb 9th 2011

Winter Weather Discussion for February 8-9, 2011.
Issued:  02/08/2011.

*Significant Winter Storm to Impact Oklahoma*
*Prepare now for this winter storm*


– Winter Storm Warning for all of Oklahoma except McCurtain County which has a watch.  Widespread 4-6 inches of snow is likely with 6-8 common central/north and isolated 10 inch amounts.

– Winds will be strong with this system but not like the prior system.  As such a blizzard warning is not expected.

– Bitterly cold temperatures will occur with this system, as with the last one.  Wind chill values below zero are likely on Wednesday with daytime high temperatures in the teens.


GFS finally shifted north with QPF and the NAM finally cutback on its QPF.  The ECMWF seems to be the winner this go around.  Snow has started in the panhandle where temperatures are in the single digits.  Northwest Oklahoma has falling temperatures with 30s in central areas.  Arctic front should progress through the state later today.  Snow will increase across the state later today and especially during the overnight hours.  Snow will then begin to taper off west to east during the day Wednesday, ending eastern sections late Wednesday.

Snowfall totals remain a little problematic but that’s nothing new with snow.  The general idea is for max snowfall to occur near HWY 9 northward with peak values near HWY 33 to HWY 412.  While snowfall totals of 6-8 inches is a high-end event, we won’t see the rather rare 16-20 inches as experienced a week ago.  Either way, travel will be quite difficult on Wednesday due to snow, blow/drifting snow/strong winds.  As with last week, travel may be impossible in some areas.  Some closings have already occurred for tomorrow and expect the list to go rapidly later today into tomorrow morning.

Winter Weather Discussion for February 8-9, 2011.
Issued:  02/07/2011.


–  Winter Storm Warning for all of western and central Oklahoma Tuesday night through Wednesday.

–  Winter Storm Watch eastern Oklahoma and panhandle Tuesday night through Wednesday.

–  Widespread snow totals of 4-8 inches likely across Oklahoma, with isolated amounts of 10 inches.

–  Winter Storm Watch will likely be upgraded to a warning later today.


12z NAM/GFS remain at odds today and there remains no reason to pick one over the other.  I don’t want to play the flip-flop game with snow totals as it does nothing but confuse the message.  The general idea remains that widespread 4 inches of snow will occur across Oklahoma.  Somewhere between I-40 and HWY 412 there will be 6-8 inches with isolated higher amounts.  The GFS wants to dampen the upper system while the NAM keeps it relatively strong.  Also, the GFS wants to start precipitation Tuesday afternoon, which I do not agree with right now.  This isn’t seen in other models and I’m certainly not inclined to follow the freezing rain type offered by this model.  I’m not opposed to changing if future model runs show an earlier start but right now the warnings start at 3pm, so I guess it doesn’t matter too much.  The worst of the storm will be during the early morning hours Wednesday through noon.  Eastern Oklahoma will see snow continue during the afternoon hours on Wednesday.

The good news for this event, the majority of precipitation will be snow.  While there is always a chance for a mix, there shouldn’t be near the amounts as seen last week.  Model QPF values continue to vary with the NAM much higher than the GFS, which is most likely a result of the stronger upper system.  I’m not ready to bite on the 1 inch QPF in eastern Oklahoma.  OKC only got 0.64 inches last week but got 11.1 inches of snow.  As such the typical 10:1 snow ration may not apply again this event.  Despite which model used, there is a decent swath of 8-10 inches somewhere in the state.

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About Putnam Reiter

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