Winter Weather Discussion for February 24-26, 2013

Winter Weather Discussion for February 24-26, 2013.
Issued:  02/24/2013.
*Blizzard Warning for parts of Oklahoma*
*Preparations for this storm should be rushed to completion*
Highlights:
–  Significant and potentially life-threatening winter storm to impact a large part of Oklahoma tonight through Tuesday morning.  A blizzard warning is posted for much of western Oklahoma and a winter storm warning for central and north-central sections.  Snow will start in the panhandle and western OK late tonight and then central OK Monday afternoon.
–  Showers and thunderstorms are likely across the eastern 2/3rds of Oklahoma tonight into midday Monday.  A few severe thunderstorms are possible tonight into Monday in mainly southern sections.
Discussion:
Little change to going forecast and see no need to rehash much of what has already been reviewed in prior discussions.  Most models are now in good agreement re tracking a closed southern stream low along the Red River.  The 12z NAM has finally signed-on and gives OKC about 4-5 inches of snow.  Winds in OKC look to be about 5 mph below blizzard warning criteria, but doesn’t mean a short-fused blizzard warning won’t be issued.
The biggest issue remains, at what point will rain transition to snow for central Oklahoma.  Out west, the event may briefly start out as light right and quickly transition to all snow by the early  Monday morning.  Raw NAM BUFKIT data has, and yes I’m serious, 2 feet of snow for Gage.  Storm total QPF is 2.498 inches water equivalent.  About 0.15 is rain, so using the standard 10:1 ratio gets you 23.5 inches of snow.  Not sure I believe that but, wow.  NWS Norman just noted that the NAM is likely overdone in this area and I tend to agree.  For Oklahoma City, the NAM has us transitioning to all snow @4-5pm Monday.  NWS is starting the snow a little earlier and I think this is a good bet.  I’m still not convinced the models have a good handle on the cold air to our north.  This was seen twice last week, so we’ll see if it happens again.  Another issue remains the potential for convective symmetric instability to develop, which would greatly enhance snowfall totals in a given area.
I’ll take another look at the 00z NAM and incoming 12z GFS/EC later.  NWS Norman just indicated they don’t expect to change their advisories although they may tweak snowfall amounts.
Travel in the western 2/3rds of Oklahoma Monday and Tuesday is strongly discouraged.
Probabilities:
–  None
Chase Status:
–  Level 1 – Normal
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