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Facts on the Dec. 5-6 "winter storm" from the National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office

by Bryan Painter Published: December 9, 2013

From the National Weather Service,Norman Forecast Office

The Winter Storm of December 5-6


The winter event of Thursday, December 5 to Friday, December 6, 2013 essentially impacted the region in two separate waves of wintry precipitation. A strong upper level trough set up over the western half of the United States Wednesday night through Thursday morning. Embedded within the larger wave, a short wave trough dug eastward into the southern Rockies.  In response, a surface trough/front developed which then lifted across the southern plains beginning Thursday evening.  Prior to this…a strong arctic cold front surged southward across the plains states into Texas, brining unseasonably cold weather Tuesday and Wednesday (12/3-4/2013).

Precipitation started midday Thursday, in the form of freezing rain across the western north Texas and southern Oklahoma. While to the north, snow developed, primarily north of the I-40 corridor and across Oklahoma City through the afternoon.  There was a fine transition line between freezing rain/sleet and snow across the southern half othe OKC metro, as freezing rain quickly transitioned to sleet from Moore and Norman and locatiosn south and east of the I-44 corridor. This first wave, of wintry precipitation slowly diminished through the early to mid evening hours across central Oklahoma, while freezing rain and sleet continued to fall through the evening and overnight across southern Oklahoma and southward into the Dallas Metroplex.

The second wave of primarily snow, with a little sleet mixed in, started across western Texas and slowly lifted north-northeast across southwestern Oklahoma shortly before midnight. This band of snow increased through the overnight hours and continued through Friday (12/6/2013) morning, with the primary band of precipitation extending from west Texas through central Oklahoma and into the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks.  The remaining winter precipitation slowly tapered off through the late morning, moving into western Arkansas by early afternoon. 

This system laid down a decent swath of snow/sleet accumulations and a glazing of ice across far southern Oklahoma. The most impressive snow totals were associated with the main heavy snow band that formed over western north Texas, dropping 4 to 6 inches of snow from there up through Oklahoma City. Other less heavy snowbands developed farther east, with appreciable snow accumulations of 2 to 3 inches over a large portion of central Oklahoma.


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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