Is it dreaming, or will a white Christmas visit areas of Oklahoma?
Since 1890, there have been six times in which there was an inch or more snow on the ground Christmas Day in Oklahoma City, according to the National Weather Service. There have been about a half-dozen such days in Tulsa since 1900.
A rapidly evolving upper storm system will move into the Rockies early next week about Christmas Eve. It appears the storm will then move across portions of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas late Christmas night through Wednesday.
“While it looks like much of Oklahoma has at least some chance of seeing snow, there are still a lot of question marks this far out,” said Rick Smith of the National Weather Service, Norman.
“It's important that people know that the potential is there, but at this point, it's way too early to worry about exact locations, timing and amounts. Think about how your travel plans might change if we do see snow, and above all, check the forecasts often, because they will change numerous times over the next several days.”
Past Christmas snows
There have only been 11 days in which a trace or more of snow fell on Christmas in Oklahoma City. The highest total of snow in the city that came on Christmas Day was 6.5 inches in 1914.
However, there have been 12 days with at least a trace of snow on the ground on Christmas Day, meaning it could have fallen before. The most notable of those was 2009 when the Christmas Eve blizzard left 14 inches of snow on the ground at Will Rogers World Airport. In Tulsa, 6 inches of snow was on the ground Christmas Day in 2009.
Cody Boyd, spokesman for the state Transportation Department, said, “As with any inclement weather threat, we are keeping an eye on this potential storm. Statewide, ODOT is fully prepared with maintenance crews and equipment at the ready if needed, and all of the sand and salt sheds are fully stocked.”
The department's winter weather resources include 550 trucks available statewide. Among those are 60 trucks in Oklahoma City and 41 in Tulsa.
The department also has: 110 salt sheds statewide; 115 crews with 1,044 maintenance workers statewide; 70,000 tons of sand and 70,000 tons of salt and/or sand mix on hand and 35,000 additional tons of salt stored at the Port of Catoosa.
In the short-term, parts of northern Oklahoma will probably see some light snow Wednesday night into early Thursday, Smith said.
“We're only expecting accumulations up to about an inch, mainly up close to the Kansas border,” he said.
“But even that amount of snow combined with the strong winds could make travel a little tricky, so be extra careful in that area.”