Severe Weather Discussion for December 19 – 25, 2011

Severe Weather Discussion for December 19 – 25, 2011.
Issued:  12/18/2011.
*Significant Winter Weather Event for the Panhandle*
–  Blizzard Watch is posted for the Oklahoma panhandle with an upgrade to a Blizzard Warning likely for Monday into Tuesday.  Snowfall totals of 10-12 inches are likely with isolated ares up to 16 inches.
–  Winter Storm Watch is posted for far northwest Oklahoma with 3-6 inches of snow likely Monday into Tuesday.
–  Widespread rain is likely across much of Oklahoma Monday into Tuesday with some areas getting 1-2 inches.
–  A dusting of snow to one inch is possible from Oklahoma City north and west by Tuesday evening.
–  Temperatures will be near 50F Monday, falling on Tuesday into the mid-30s by late afternoon, mid 40s Wednesday – Thursday, near 40F Friday, mid 40s Saturday, and upper 40s Sunday.
–  Winter officially starts on Thursday, but the folks in the panhandle probably don’t care.
–  Merry Christmas to all!
Probabilities:
–  Severe Thunderstorms in Oklahoma:  < 5%
–  Storm Chase:  < 5%
–  Winter Precip:  50%
Discussion:
Wouldn’t be Christmas week in Oklahoma without a blizzard!  Models are in good agreement regarding the evolution of a closed southern stream shortwave low currently south of San Diego.  Said system is expected to drift eastward the next 12-18 hours and then start moving slowly northeast.  Models prog this system to move over the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma into Kansas.  The general location of the heaviest snow track is well handled by the models.  As such, much of the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma panhandle, and southwest Kansas will get hit with at least 12 inches of snow.  Isolated amounts to 16 inches are also possible.  Elsewhere, a cold rain is expected.  Plenty of moisture is available, so model rainfall totals of 1-2 inches appear reasonable.  This should go a long ways against the current drought.  It will likely remove the D4 from Oklahoma as the panhandle has the only remaining area of D4.  Kept the winter precip at 50% due to the areal coverage of the event, even though it is high-end.
After this system passes, the pattern quiets down some.  There are two other systems progged to move over the region, but none are likely to cause any issues due to lack of moisture.  They will help keep the region cool much of the week.
NAM MOS was used through Wednesday and then undercut the GFS some through the rest of the week.
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