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Fire, snow and more in updated weather information

by Bryan Painter Modified: January 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm •  Published: January 29, 2014
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The “Area Forecast Discussion” from the National Weather Service, Norman, as of

3:41 pm Wednesday:

Discussion…

Short term, tonight through Friday night:

Elevated fire danger will continue through late afternoon with
gusty winds and low humidity. Temperatures will generally stay
near normal through the afternoon, but with plenty of dry fuels
and lack of recent rainfall, any fires that develop will spread
quickly. With south winds persisting overnight, low temperatures
should come in several degrees warmer than the last two
nights, generally in the upper 20s and low 30s.

The main concern for the short term period will be heightened
wildfire danger. Highs tomorrow will climb into the 60s and 70s
ahead of a slow moving cold front. These unseasonably warm
temperatures combined with humidities ranging from 10 to 20
percent, combined with gusty southwest winds of 20 to 25 mph will
likely create dangerous wildfire spread potential. For now, will
issue a fire weather watch and allow the overnight shift to evaluate
areas most likely to see red flag conditions. Burning is strongly
discouraged tomorrow, and many counties across Oklahoma are
currently under burn bans.

The aforementioned cold front will sag southward tomorrow night into
Friday, ushering in another shot of colder temperatures to round
out the week. Highs on Friday will struggle into the 30s over the
northern third of Oklahoma, while 60s will be prevalent along the
Red River just ahead of the front.

By late Friday night, a weak upper level wave will move over the
Southern Plains, bringing just enough southwest flow aloft to
produce some light rain or drizzle along and ahead of the front.
To the north, where temperatures remain at or below freezing, a
mix of freezing drizzle and freezing rain will be possible. This may
gradually mix with or change over to very light snow as the cold air
deepens across northern and western Oklahoma. Otherwise, much of
the region will remain cold and dry heading into the weekend.

Long term, Saturday morning through Wednesday:

Primary concern in the extended remains focused on wintry precip
chances Sunday and Tuesday.

There remains quite a few questions/concerns heading into the
weekend and into early next week with regards to precip type,
duration, and impacts of each system for the region. One must keep
in mind, the h500 trough that will arrive on Sunday is currently
spinning over the North Pacific, well west of BC. Meanwhile, the
system/trough that will move into the Southern Plains late Monday through Tuesday
is currently situated just south of the Aleutian Islands, both of
which are well depicted on current wv imagery. This means that
neither has had a chance to be fully sampled by the upper air and
sfc network of sensors. However, even with a lack of physical
observations, save for ships and airplane sounders, and
satellite observations, mid to long range guidance continues to
come into subtle alignment/agreement.

For the weekend, as for precip chances, a light wintry mix will likely be exiting
to the east across portions of central Oklahoma through Saturday morning,
with only minor impacts expected. Better chances for wintry precip
will begin early Sunday morning as the h500 short wave lifts eastward
off New Mexico/Texas High Plains. Looking at bufr soundings and top down…
cloud ice will be better supported across nothern Oklahoma, with better -snow
chances, and rain/snow mix across central Oklahoma,  to rain across southern ok/western, north Texas. Precip chances will taper off overnight into early Monday
morning. Monday currently looks to remain dry, with precip chances
increasing late in the evening across western Oklahoma spreading eastward
overnight into Tuesday morning. Given the advanced
timing/uncertainty, currently electing to keep it simple, good
chance of snow across northern Oklahoma, with rains/snow mix across central Oklahoma and
rain across western, north Texas and far southern Oklahoma. Rain/snow mix will spread southward
through the day Tuesday, with precip tapering off to the east
through sunset Tuesday. Overall, the best chances for any precip will
be across the eastern and southern Oklahoma and northern Texas during the day Tuesday.

As for impacts, even with the uncertainty, we could see some
minor accumulations across northern Oklahoma Tuesday,  trace to 2 inches,
which will impact roads. Across central and southern Oklahoma,  impacts will
hinge on precip type. If we end up with more of a rain/snow mix and
temps hover near and above freezing, we may only see minor impacts
to roads across the region.

Remember,  this forecast will change, so check back for updates
tomorrow morning and afternoon when the new seven day forecasts are
issued.

 

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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