Archive for December, 2011

Snow! Where Are You?
December 30, 2011

Yes, I know we’re only a few days into the winter season, but something is lacking across The United States. Do you know what it is? I am sure the title gave it away..SNOW! OK, so yes there is snow out there, but compared to what is normal and especially compared to last year, this year is definetely lacking. Let’s compare. The first graphic below shows the snow cover last year to date:

Last year was certainly an odd year for snow cover. Not because of the fact that 48% of The United States was covered in snow, but more so where the snow was located. Seeing North Carolina covered in that much snow is odd, but that’s about it. The places that should have snow on the ground certainly did. The average snow depth was also impressive, nearly half a foot. Now, let’s compare the same date to this year:

This year so far looks dry, way to dry. Places like Minneapolis, Chicao, SOuth Dakota, Eastern Montana all have bare ground. Not even a trace of snow can be see. If anything, Guymon,Oklahoma has more snow than Minneapolis. Now, that’s weird. Half of America is snowless compred to the same date last year (23%), and the average snow depth isn’t anything impressive either, only 1.5″.

This map will change though. Looking at the middle of January does show a more active pattern for places that are lacking snow. Happy shoveling everybody!

-Damon

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2011 Oklahoma Tornadoes
December 27, 2011

2011 in Oklahoma may be best remembered for 2 things… the sweltering heat…and setting yet more tornado records. Here is a breakdown of what happened tornadowise in The Sooner State:

118 Tornadoes: 2nd most in a single year behind 1999 which had 145

14 Tornado Fatalities:  Deadliest year since 1999 which had 42 deaths

4 Violent (EF4/5) Tornadoes:  More than 1999 which had 3 and 2nd to 1960 which had 5.

50 April Tornadoes:  Most ever for April

3 Simultaneous Violent tornadoes:  May 24th from 5:25-5:35pm in Logan and McClain Counties

1 November Violent Tornado: Tipton, Oklahoma tornado rated EF4 making that the strongest tornado in November in Oklahoma.

Here’s hoping for a quieter 2012… – Damon

A Dry, Mild Start To 2012
December 26, 2011

Despite a few showers today, the outlook for the end of 2011, and the beginning of 2012 is for dry, mild weather.  Take a look at the 8-14 day outlook for temperature and precipitation valid through January 9, 2012:

 These forecast maps show no sign of any arctic intrusions through the first several days of January.  In fact, much of the United States will have above average temperatures.  Our part of the nation looks pretty dry too.

So far, this young winter has been the milder and less snowy across much of the nation compared to last winter.  Look at a map of this year’s snow cover on Christmas day (top) compared to Christmas 2010 (bottom):

You know something is crazy when Midland, Texas has had more snow this winter than Chicago and Cleveland.

Rick

Is La Nina Finally Returning?
December 23, 2011

The word La Nina is not a nice word to say around Oklahoma. I actually consider it a dirty word to say that deserves having your mouth washed out with soap if you cheer it on. But, for some, it’s actually a good thing. So who likes such a word? It’s ski resorts from Colorado to Wyoming and north. That’s because the pattern during a La Nina season favors huge snowstorms. Big snow storms. GINORMOUS SNOWSTORMS. And after being non-existent for just about the entire fall, it appears that La Nina is now starting to set up across North America.

Image

 

The map above was grabbed from the 06Z GFS Model run for New Years Eve. Yes, it may look complicated to you, but focus on The Northwest and look at all the green and even blue. This is something that has been lacking for most of the fall, and that is a series of storms moving into The Pacific Northwest and bringing snow. Thus, ski resorts, which do have snow, have been having so-so conditions, but not as good as they expected. Well, all that is about to change as places like Wyoming, Idaho and Montana are about to get slammed with feet of snow within the next week.This pattern is very typical of a La Nina season where storms roll in every few days.

Ski resorts will give you 2 thumbs up on a pattern like this (Colorado will get it’s turn too), but here in Oklahoma, we give this an evil stare. The reason is because it takes us back to a dry weather pattern where rain may be hard to come and eventually the fire season will return. So, if you enjoyed the rain for the past few months, signs are you may not see much for the winter.

-Damon

Dashing Through the Snow….
December 23, 2011

OK, so we may not see that much snow, but Christmas Day does have a chance for a little bit of precip here and there. No need to get concerned here, this won’t be a blizzard nor will there be any travel problems. But Southern Oklahoma and perhaps as far north as Southern Oklahoma City could see a few snowflakes and raindrops thrown in on Christmas.

This may be our last shot of rain for a while, La Nina is finally arriving…

-Damon

Making Plans for Christmas?
December 19, 2011

I know it’s still 6 days away and the way our weather changes around, I suppose this forecast could change, but right now, looking at Christmas, this is the best information we have. According to some of the models, another strongc old front could roll in here late Christmas Eve and drop those highs only into the 30s possible for Christmas. Strong northerly winds could keep wind chills in the 20s. So, while we may not have snow in the forecast for Christmas Day, we do have some cold air. Merry Christmas everybody!

-Damon

Drought Busters!
December 18, 2011

It’s been a very wet fall for Oklahoma and the last few days of the season will look a lot like the rest of the season, WET! (and in some cases, white!). Either or, we’re putting moisture in the soil, and lots of it! Here is what we can expect for rainfall across the state:

That’s a lot, and I mean, a lot of rain. And better yet is that it’s coming during the 3rd driest month of the entire year. This will no doubt erase the drought that is hitting the soils and likely fill the area lakes. Yes, the lakes are low, but this will help out a lot. As for snow, the snow will likekly remain in NW Oklahoma and The Oklahoma Panhandle. But, with the snow melting, it will provide moisture to the soils in parts of the state that really need it:

If you promised the kids a White Christmas, I can tell you where to go… cheers!

-Damon

Major Winter Storm Coming For Parts Of Oklahoma
December 17, 2011

Good Saturday!  The latest computer information is showing a major winter storm taking shape for northwest Oklahoma and the panhandle Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning.  Snow amounts could hit six inches in parts of northwest Oklahoma, with over a foot of snow possible in central and western parts of the Oklahoma panhandle.

Here is the snowfall forecast for our Predictor model through 6:00 AM Tuesday:

This is just one model, but it clearly shows the heavy snow potential associated with this storm system.  In addition to the snow, gusty north winds of 20-35 mph will cause blowing and drifting of snow, and dangerous travel.  Weather and travel conditions will get worse after noon on Monday.  The heaviest of the snow will fall from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

For the rest of Oklahoma, most of the precipitation will fall in the form of rain.  OKC will receive one to two inches of rain through the day Monday.  As the storm pulls in colder air, a changeover to snow is possible in central Oklahoma Monday night into Tuesday morning.  Snow accumulations will be light with an inch or less expected.

In the meantime, our weekend weather looks tranquil.  I’ll be working all weekend on this storm so make sure you check back to koco.com for updates.  You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/oklahomaweather.  I also post information on Twitter at rickmitchellwx.  Finally, you can catch us on Eyewitness News 5 today at 5, 6, and 10 pm.

Rick

Did Someone Say Snow?
December 17, 2011

As we have been talking about for a while now, our chances for snow across the state are increasing.
 A STRONG STORM SYSTEM OVER THE BAJA OF CALIFORNIA SATURDAY MORNING
WILL BEGIN TO MOVE EAST ACROSS ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO ON SUNDAY. THE
STORM IS THEN EXPECTED TO MOVE OUT INTO THE SOUTHERN PLAINS LATE
MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT. AS THIS STORM APPROACHES...SOUTH WINDS WILL
INCREASE AND TRANSPORT GULF MOISTURE NORTHWARD OVER THE AREA. WHILE
TO THE NORTH... MUCH COLDER AIR ACROSS THE NORTHERN ROCKIES WILL
BEGIN TO SURGE SOUTH INTO OKLAHOMA AND NORTH TEXAS.

WIDESPREAD RAIN AND A FEW THUNDERSTORMS ARE FORECAST TO DEVELOP
ACROSS OKLAHOMA AND NORTH TEXAS DURING THE DAY ON MONDAY. AS THE
COLD AIR SPILLS SOUTH...THE RAIN WILL CHANGE OVER TO SNOW MONDAY
NIGHT ACROSS PORTIONS OF WESTERN AND NORTHERN OKLAHOMA. THE SNOW
WILL THEN SPREAD EAST ACROSS NORTHERN AND PARTS OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
TUESDAY MORNING BEFORE ENDING.

ALTHOUGH THE STORM SYSTEM IS STILL A FEW DAYS AWAY AND THE EXACT
FORECAST TIMING AND TRACK CAN CHANGE...IT DOES APPEAR THAT THERE IS
A REASONABLE POTENTIAL FOR ACCUMULATING SNOW ACROSS NORTHWEST
PORTIONS OF OKLAHOMA MONDAY NIGHT AND TUESDAY MORNING. LOCATIONS
NORTH AND WEST OF A LINE FROM CHEYENNE TO ALVA COULD SEE SNOWFALL
AMOUNTS EXCEEDING 4 INCHES WITH LIGHTER AMOUNTS FARTHER SOUTH AND
EAST. SOME ACCUMULATIONS ARE POSSIBLE AS FAR SOUTH AS PERRY...
WATONGA...AND HOLLIS. STRONG NORTH WINDS WILL ACCOMPANY THE SNOW AND
CREATE BLOWING AND DRIFTING ALONG WITH LOW WIND CHILLS.

-Damon


Drought Forecast: More Of The Same Despite Recent Rainfall
December 16, 2011

The latest forecast from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is out and it calls for Oklahoma’s drought to continue through March.  The forecast issued earlier this week shows the drought conditions improving in eastern Oklahoma, but persisting in central and western parts of the state.  Here is the drought outlook:

This forecast comes at a time when the drought has actually decreased across all of Oklahoma over the last 90 days thanks to a series of storm systems that have brought rain to the state.  Here is the latest Drought Monitor for Oklahoma:

The worst level of drought, exceptional, shown by the darkest red color, now only covers a portion of the panhandle, or about two percent of the state.  Just three months ago, nearly 69 percent of the state was in the exceptional category.  This clearly shows a trend of improving drought conditions in Oklahoma.

The short-term forecast calls for a good chance of more rain in the state early next week.  Here is the latest outlook on rainfall potential from the HPC from late Sunday through Monday night:

 An additional one to three inches of rain would keep the drought in full retreat, at least for the time being.

If one is to believe the forecast for the next few months, something in our pattern must change.  I was taught that weather is all about streaks.  We are currently on a wet streak that is great for Oklahoma.  Storm systems have been frequently visiting our state bringing their much-needed rain, and I don’t see why that would change any time soon.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to ride this pattern all the way into spring.

Rick