The forecast is worsening.
The National Weather Service increased its snowfall predictions for late tonight and Tuesday, and the forecast now calls for up to a foot of snow in the northern Oklahoma City area and at least eight inches elsewhere in the metro. Northern and northeastern Oklahoma also could also get about a foot of snow.
Blizzard conditions are likely early Tuesday in the Oklahoma City area with drifts of three to five feet possible due to strong north winds and a cold blast of air, forecasters said. The overnight low tonight in the metro is expected to be about 14 degrees with winds of up to 25 mph, and Tuesday's high temperature is expected to be about 18 degrees with similar winds.
The weather service also expanded the area it predicts will receive at least two inches of snow to virtually the entire state. Western Oklahoma is expected to receive between 2 and 8 inches of snow, with projected snowfall totals increasing from west to east. A swath of southern and central Oklahoma extending from near Ardmore to Ada and further northeast also could be affected by accumulations of up to 1/4 inch of ice.
Most of the Interstate 35 corridor is expected to receive at least 4 inches of snow, with 4 to 6 inches expected as far south as Ardmore, 8 to 10 inches expected near Norman and up to a foot expected from the north Oklahoma City area to the Kansas state line.
A winter storm warning for a large part of central Oklahoma was replaced with a blizzard warning Monday afternoon. The blizzard warning is effective10 tonight to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Roads may be impassable in some parts of the state by Tuesday morning, the weather service warns. Power outages are possible. Officials urge state residents to prepare for the storm by stocking up on nonperishable food items, water and medication and to check on relatives, friends, neighbors and pets who may be especially vulnerable to the weather.
It's difficult this far out to compare the impending storm to the Christmas Eve 2009 blizzard, said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office.
“There will be elements of this storm that look like the 2009 storm with snow, strong winds and low visibilities even though the winds may not be as strong or there may not be as many inches of snow on the ground. This storm will be different in that it will be colder and wind chills will be dangerously low.
“The impacts, people being stranded and travel problems, could be very similar,” Smith said.
Heavy snowfall and some ice accumulation is also expected in the Tulsa area and eastern Oklahoma, according to the weather service. Winds could be even stronger there with gusts of up to 35 mph.
Up to 18 inches of snow is possible in eastern Oklahoma north of Interstate 44, forecasters said.
Oklahoma City-area forecast:
• Tonight: Periods of snow and light sleet or light freezing rain or rain in the evening, then snow and blowing snow after midnight. Colder. Snow may be heavy at times after midnight. Lows around 14. North winds 15 to 25 mph.
• Tuesday: Snow and blowing snow in the morning, then periods of snow and blowing snow in the afternoon. Much colder. Snow may be heavy at times in the morning. Highs around 18. North winds 20 to 25 mph.
• Tuesday night: Cloudy with slight chance of snow showers. Colder. Lows around 2. North winds 15 to 25 mph. Twenty percent chance of snow.
• Wednesday: Cloudy. Highs around 12. North winds around 15 mph, gusting to about 30 mph.
• Wednesday night and Thursday: Partly cloudy. Not as cold. Lows around 1. Highs in the lower 20s.
Contributing: Staff Writer Bryan Painter