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Winter weather chat transcript, Dec. 3, 2013

FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: December 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm •  Published: December 3, 2013

Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, chatted with readers Tuesday about a wintry weather system expected to move across central Oklahoma on Thursday and Friday. Here's a look at the entire chat transcript:

NewsOK 10:26 a.m. Hey everyone. RIck Smith from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman will be logging in at 11 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
NewsOK 10:51 a.m. Keep the questions coming. We'll get started soon.
NewsOK 10:59 a.m. Wow. We've got a lot of questions. Let's get started.
NewsOK 11:01 a.m. First, we'd like to thank Rick Smith for joining us today! Hopefully, this will help with preparation and planning for the upcoming weather.
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:01 a.m. Glad to be here!
Terry 11:01 a.m. Will we be seeing icy roads like the last freeze/snow or just some snow?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:02 a.m. This coming storm system is similar to the last one, but the impacts are going to be more widespread. I think road conditions will be worse over a larger area, including the OKC metro
Shannon 11:03 a.m. How bad will this winter storm be?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:04 a.m. It depends on where you are Shannon. For the OKC metro, it will be bad enough to cause some travel problems starting late Thursday night and continuing through Friday. It will be colder with this storm. We are concerned that areas south and southeast of OKC could get enough ice to cause tree damage and power outages
Guest 11:04 a.m. when will it hit the metro and will it affect school closings on Thursday or Friday?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:06 a.m. We don't make the call on school closings, but we do work with a lot of the area schools to help them know what's coming. It looks like the main impacts on the metro will begin Thursday after dark, and continue through Friday. I would expect roads to be bad enough by Friday morning to cause problems.
Dennis 11:06 a.m. We are traveling from Amarillo to Little Rock Thursday and Friday what are the chances that we can make it?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:10 a.m. Well, it depends on what you're driving and your experience. ODOT TXDOT and ADOT do a wonderful job of trying to keep the interstates in good shape. I think most of Thursday the roads will be in decent shape. After dark, we'll start to see bridges and overpasses getting slick, followed quickly by the streets and interstates. It doesn't take much sleet and freezing rain to cause travel issues. If I were traveling, I'd follow the forecast closely. If you have the option to leave before Thursday, I would do it. Friday's travel conditions will be bad through much of OK and into AR
Guest 11:10 a.m. What time is it supposed to start snowing and sleeting in the Pawhuska area?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:12 a.m. Sleet and snow will begin late Thursday and continue into Friday morning in the Pawhuska area
Taylor 11:12 a.m. What makes this situation different from our first round of winter weather?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:14 a.m. This storm is a different in a couple of different ways, The air will be colder, both at the surface and up thousands of feet above our heads. The system is a little stronger and will be capable of producing heavier amounts than what we saw last time. We are more worried about ice across SE and south central OK this time than we were last time
scott 11:15 a.m. How bad is this "winter storm" going to be and how long will it be sticking around?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:17 a.m. How bad the storm will be depends a lot on where you are! To people in NW OK, it won't be bad at all. If you're down around Ada, Ardmore and Pauls Valley, it might be bad enough to cause power outages and big travel problems. The main precipitation will be out of here by Friday evening, but some places won't get above freezing until Monday
Mark 11:18 a.m. Will the roads be clear by Saturday night? I'm driving from Norman to Weatherford.
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:18 a.m. Mark, hard to say, but I would think conditions would be decent by then. Friday is a different story
edmond bulldog 11:19 a.m. how much snow will edmond get when this storm heads out
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:20 a.m. Forecast amounts will change several times between now and Friday, but right now we think northern parts of the OKC metro could see a layer of sleet, with 1-3 inches of snow on top of it
MD 11:20 a.m. I have a meeting in Smithdale Arkansas on Thursday and can leave around noon. Think I might be ok or should I cancel the trip?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:21 a.m. You should be able to get there okay. I don't think travel will be a problem until after dark Thursday and into Friday.
Aaron 11:21 a.m. What are your expectations on travel conditions Friday evening for Eastern Oklahoma (Poteau area)?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:22 a.m. VERY important for everyone to check the forecasts often between now and then, especially if you have travel plans! Exact timing, locations and amounts will change between now and then, so don't walk away thinking this is the final answer. We update our forecasts constantly 24 hours a day, so check it often!
Mark 11:23 a.m. How much snow is expected in the Norman area?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:23 a.m. Eastern OK will see enough sleet and snow that roads may be bad by Friday evening
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:24 a.m. Norman, as usual will be on the line between sleet and snow. Right now, it looks like the heavier snow will be north of us, but we could still see 1/2 inch of sleet, with a little snow on top of that. It will be enough to make the roads bad
Keith 11:25 a.m. With the cold front expected well before precipitation starts falling, what are some of the factors that would keep enough warm air in place for precip to begin as sleet or freezing rain? Is it safe to assume that the precip will begin before cold air is in place at all layers, or is there still enough uncertainty in the models where it could be all snow for OKC?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:28 a.m. That's basically right, Keith. What precip we see at the ground depends totally on the temperatures above our heads. It can be 28 degrees at the surface, but if there's a layer of air that's 38 degrees above that, we'll see freezing rain at the surface. Once the temperature gets below freezing at the ground and aloft, then we'll see all snow. We think that transition will happen very late Thursday night into early Friday morning for the metro.
Jeff 11:28 a.m. I will be heading to Tulsa on Thursday night from OKC, will conditions be too bad for safe traveling?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:29 a.m. You can help us out a lot by reporting what kind of precipitation you're seeing. This app makes it quick and easy to tell us what you're seeing. Your reports will help us and also the researchers!
Sammy 11:29 a.m. How low are temps supposed to go? Will those of us with older homes need to drip our faucets?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:30 a.m. I hope not Jeff. I worry about bridges and overpasses getting slick before midnight, but the worst conditions should hold off until after midnight
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:32 a.m. Sammy, I'm not sure where you are. For the OKC metro area, it'll be down around 19 degrees by Friday morning, and 10 degrees by Saturday morning. I would definitely take precautions to keep your pipes from freezing
R Clark 11:32 a.m. Will it be foggy again this evening and into tomorrow morning?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:33 a.m. Not too worried about fog tonight/tomorrow morning. With the cold front coming through, winds will be strong enough to keep fog from forming
Andrea 11:33 a.m. How much ice accumulation is expected for North OKC?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:34 a.m. North OKC may see some sleet and then snow, but we're not worried too much about ice accumulating on power lines and trees. Maybe 1/2 inch of sleet, then 1-3 inches of snow
Debbie 11:34 a.m. Trying to drive in from Missouri for OSU football on Saturday....Any predictions of amounts/types of precipitation and timing?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:35 a.m. Bookmark this site for OK road conditions - and the OKC metro, follow @OHPTraffic for great updates
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:36 a.m. Precip will be done in time for Bedlam on Saturday, but it will be cold. Depending on exactly how much snow falls across that part of the state, roads could still be slick
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:36 a.m. Link to official NWS forecast for Stillwater:
Sammy 11:36 a.m. Does it look like more of an ice storm or a snow storm on Thursday? Also, do you know if the ground temps are low enough for immediate accumulation?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:38 a.m. Again, Sammy, I don't know your location. I think parts of the state will see both, depending on where you are. Ice is most likely in the Ardmore-Ada-Holdenville areas. Heaviest snow is right now most likely from Enid to Stillwater to Ponca City
Paula 11:38 a.m. Is the ice threat serious enough to start moving generators into SE Oklahoma?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:40 a.m. We'll be discussing that with our emergency management partners on a conference call at 1pm today. This isn't a weather pattern that we've seen in the recent devastating ice storms, but we could see enough ice accumulating on trees and power lines to cause power outages
Scott 11:40 a.m. Will a change in the forecase wind speeds result in any change to ice accumulation?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:40 a.m. If I lived in SE OK, I would be thinking about how I'll stay warm and fed just in case the power goes out
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:41 a.m. I don't know that a change in the wind speeds will necessarily change the forecast ice amounts, but wind can make the situation worse.
Evelyn 11:41 a.m. In Mustang will this be more of an ice event or snow event?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:42 a.m. Mustang will be on the borderline between. Right now, you're more likely to get snow than ice
David W 11:42 a.m. Rick, I'm hearing that the latest model runs are pushing the entire storm farther east rather abruptly, possibly throwing the Thursday forecast into flux. Any thoughts?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:43 a.m. We're not seeing that, David.
Guest 11:43 a.m. is it possible that the airport could see delays Friday morning
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:44 a.m. If I had a flight into or out of OKC or Tulsa Friday morning, I would want to check that status. Delays are possible
Mike 11:44 a.m. What can we expect out from El Reno to about the Weatherford area?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:45 a.m. I-40 from OKC west will see sleet starting Thursday night, changing to snow late and continuing into Friday morning
Guest 11:46 a.m. Is this shaping up to have significant moisture to give us a good snowfall?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:46 a.m. Bookmark this page for info to help you get ready for the winter storm -
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:48 a.m. There is enough moisture to bring someone a good snow. Just like the last storm, we expect a fairly narrow band of heavier snow to set up in an area only a county or two wide, and it's almost impossible to pick out exactly where that will be this far in advance. But someone is going to get a good bit of snow
Liz 11:48 a.m. Do you expect road conditions to improve throughout the day on Friday or will it be bad all day?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:49 a.m. For the metro area, it will be cloudy all day Friday with a high of only about 25 degrees. Depending on how much we get and what form it takes, the roads could be bad much of the day
Josh 11:49 a.m. Is this pattern of weather likely to repeat itself throughout the winter months? Are we likely to see increased amounts of snow/ice this winter compared to normal?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:50 a.m. Hard to say, Josh. We're in an active pattern now, and if that continues we'll see storms like this periodically through the winter.
Guest 11:50 a.m. What can we expect in north-central Oklahoma, near the Kansas border?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:53 a.m. NC OK won't have to deal with a lot of the mixed precip, and it will mostly be snow. Could see enough to cause travel problems, depending on where the heavier bands set up
Denise 11:54 a.m. Thanks Rick We love you sooo much xoxoxo! You are a life saver!
Rzrsgirl 11:54 a.m. Any chance this storm will come in earlier?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:55 a.m. We're pretty confident on the timing. It's not out of the question we could see some light precip during the day Thursday, but we still think the main event will be after dark and overnight.
BC 11:55 a.m. What is the weather going to be like after this storm and next week?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:57 a.m. Another weak storm system will move across the state Saturday bringing more snow and sleet (mainly snow). We should clear out and warm up starting MOnday
Tony 11:58 a.m. Is there a chance of precipitation in Stillwater for the Bedlam Game (Go Pokes!) or should it just be cold and dry by then?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 11:59 a.m. Dry and cold for Bedlam. Very cold!
NewsOK 12:00 p.m. OK, that's all for today folks. Thanks to Rick Smith for joining us and taking questions.

Rick, do you have any other links people can bookmark and refer back to?
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 12:01 p.m. Definitely check out our web page at for constant updates 24 hours a day. Follow us on twitter @NWSNorman and like our Facebook page -
Rick Smith - NWS Norman 12:01 p.m. Thanks for having me!
NewsOK 12:01 p.m. Excellent. Thanks so much!
NewsOK 12:03 p.m. Also, be sure to follow Bryan Painter's weather blog. He'll be posting throughout the day on Thursday and Friday.

Stay safe, everyone!


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