Archive for March, 2012

Today’s Risk
March 29, 2012

It’s not your classic severe weather day. Instability is high, but many of parameters are lacking for this to be deemed a good severe weather “chase day”. Still, it’s out there. The timing may be well after 4:00pm. According to The Predictor Model Run back here at KOCO.. it shows this:

A few lonely storms may develop closer to sunset. If they do though, there could be some good size hail stones in there. Perhaps as large as baseballs.

-Damon

Cold Air Funnel, Huh?
March 22, 2012

Yesterday was a nice day across Oklahoma. Though, for many, panick mode quickly set in when funnels started dropping from the sky. My cell phone went crazy and all of a sudden social media was being blown up with topics such as ” tornadoes all over Oklahoma”. It may have looked that way, but what many of us were seeing was far from being a tornado. So, what was it? It was a cold air funnel.. huh?

Cold air funnels can look threatening if you don’t know what they are. But there is absolutely no reason to be alarmed. They form well above the earth’s surface behind cold fronts in pools of cold air  and usually have winds no stronger than what you may find on a sunny day here in Oklahoma.

There was a reason why despite the numerous reports of these cold air funnels yesterday why The Storm Prediction Center never issued a Tornado Watch or why The NWS never issued a Tornado Warning. These are not tornadoes and never really had a chance to become one.

I promise you that here at KOCO we have a very smart weather team and never once were you in danger yesterday. We’ll give you plenty of heads up when severe weather is in the forecast.

-Damon

Update: Drought Monitor
March 22, 2012

It’s actually happened… what is usually the driest time of the entire year (the winter months of December, January, February and March) turned out to be wetter than  we were expecting leading to an official end to the drought for much of Oklahoma. Yes, I know some drought conditions still remain, especially in Southwestern Oklahoma where SEVERE DROUGHT conditions are still occuring around Altus as well as The Oklahoma Panhandle where EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT conditions can be found from Boise City to Guymon.

For most of us however, the white shading above means that we are not in a drought. It wasn’t just one event that did it. I know this past week has been wet. (Remember the rains that were tabulated into this drought monitor were taken before Tuesday, so Wednesday and Thursday rains weren’t included here). It wasn’t one event, but a series of rain events over the past few months. This week was the icing on the cake.

The map above shows rainfall since Sunday. How far have we come since this drought was at it’s peak? One year ago, 91% of Oklahoma had drought conditions with 100% of the state being under a drought last summer. The worst of the drought, which is EXCEPTIONAL took over 54% of the state, compared to just 9% now.  45% of the state is now considered drought free compared to the 0% last summer. And more improvements will be made when next weeks drought monitor is issued.  Let’s keep the rain west for a while where it’s still needed most.

-Damon

The March That Never Was
March 21, 2012

We knew that this month was warm and the numbers don’t lie. If the month ended today, then this month would go down as the 3rd warmest with the average temperature about 9 degrees above normal. (No wonder the allergies have been showing up earlier and the grass turning greener).

The surge of warmth this month did come with something better than sneezing, weezing and all sorts of other things that come with spring weather. We’ve had a good amount of rain during the month that has helped push Oklahoma City out of a drought. Western Oklahoma is a different story, but with about 4.40 inches of rain this month, we’re just knocking on the door of making it to the top 10 wettest March’s on record.

The outlook for the rest of the month does show a small drop in temperatures for tomorrow before we see a quick warm-up by the weekend with highs near 80. Rain chances are high for Thursday and more rain possible next week.

-Damon

How Thick is The Fog?
March 21, 2012

I snapped this picture from our tower cam here at KOCO around 9:45am. This morning the Devon tower was peeking above the clouds while most of Oklahoma City was blanketed with a low cloud deck/fog.

The new Devon tower is now a new tool for Oklahoma meteorologists with access to a tower cam in assessing just how thick the fog is. In this case, it’s about 47 stories thick.. or…about 120 Kevin Durant’s tall.

Enjoy!

-Damon

The Myths of Spring…
March 20, 2012

It’s here…it’s finally here. Spring! OK, I know what you’re saying… ” silly meteorologist..it’s been spring for a while now.”. Yes, our weather has been very spring like lately, but officially this morning, the earth’s tilt was so that the sun’s direct rays were over the Equator and thus officially making today the 1st day of spring. From now until June 21st, the earth will continue to tilt so that the days gets longer and the nights get shorter.

How many of you were taught that on the equinox (vernal or fall), that we have exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of dark? If you thought that was true, think again. Because today in Oklahoma City we actually have almost 12 hours and 10 mins of daylight. So, what happened here? Blame it on our earth. You see, the globe is not exactly your perfect circle (it’s a sphere). And, we have this little thing above us known as “an atmosphere”.

Sunrise is defined as the moment the sun hits the top edge of the horizon and the sunset is defined as the moment the top of the sun falls below the horizon. The problem however is that due to the way the light is bent through the atmosphere, the illusion is that the sun is still up in the sky when in reality, it has already set.

Take that into account as well as physical features such as mountains and valleys and you’ll discover that the amount of daylight has to take into account many different things other than just the fact that the sun is over the equinox or Tropic of Capricorn.

This year’s spring equinox is also quite unique. Growing up many of us were taught that the equinox usually falls on the 20th or the 21st right? But if you’re in The Mountain Time Zone or Pacific Time Zone, your equinox actually happened on the 19th. (For Oklahoma, it was just minutes after midnight). Today’s arrival of spring is actually the earliest we’ve seen since 1896.

Why so early? A year usually (not this year since it’s a Leap Year) has an odd number of days. You don’t have an even number of days nor do you have an even number of days in a season. Take this into account:

The current seasonal lengths for 2012 in the Northern Hemisphere are:

Winter: 88.994 days Spring: 92.758 days Summer: 93.651 days Autumn: 89.842

Funky stuff…

-Damon

Tracking A Slow-Moving System
March 20, 2012

Oklahoma needed the rain since parts of the state have been dealing with a drought.  However, inches of rain have caused local streets to fill with too much water.  Here is a look at some rainfall totals from the Oklahoma Mesonet as of 8 am:

Totals around the OKC metro have ranged 2-3″.  Eastern Oklahoma racked up the most as they continue to see rain this morning.

Pryor has picked up almost 6″ in the past 24 hours!  The culprit of this heavy rainfall is a slow-moving, upper-level low that is forecast to hover around our area over the next few days.  Here’s a look at the estimated track:

Rainfall totals will continue to climb in eastern Oklahoma where as much as four additional inches in isolated areas is possible.  Other parts of the state will see hit and miss showers and storms through Wednesday evening. 

So on this first day of spring, watch out for the flooding and flash flooding.  It only takes two inches of swiftly moving water to sweep you off your feet and six inches to float a car!  We say it all the time, but a reminder for you, do not drive through flooded roadways-even if the water doesn’t look that deep! 

Questions or comments?  You can follow me on Twitter: @DanielleDozier

-Danielle

Oklahoma City is Drought Free?
March 16, 2012

Could it be? OKC is now drought free? According to the latest drought monitor, Oklahoma City is indeed DROUGHT FREE! The yellow shading on the map stands for ABNORMALLY DRY which is what Oklahoma County and portions of Canadian County are dealing with as well as Logan, Lincoln and parts of Payne County. Cleveland County is still listed as having a weak drought.

According to NOAA, ABNORMALLY DRY conditions (which OKC is seeing) is not considered a drought category and is rather used to show areas that are showing some dryness or now just coming out of a drought.

And the 3 month outlook looks nice for Western Oklahoma.

Green is good. And with the chance for rain next week I see even more improvements in the drought. Time to fill up some lakes now.

-Damon

Warm Winter = What Kind of Summer?
March 16, 2012

I have never had so many people comment on a warm weather pattern and what it will mean for the summer. I know it seems to go hand-in-hand. A warm winter should equal a crazy hot summer right? Many of you seem to think so. So, let’s try to shed some light on what’s going on here and where we’re headed. Since there are no weather models that can accurately depict what we can expect this summer, the only thing we can go off of is history. So, get ready to be amazed. The following is a comparison to the Top 5 warmest winters and the Top 5 hottest summers.

By looking at the archives, warm winters do not always correlate to very hot summers. And while this past winter was the 7th warmest on record, which was followed by the hottest summer on record, the important thing to take from this is that there is no tell-tale sign that what we’re seeing right now will automatically guarantee a hot summer.

Actually, the warmest winter on record, which occurred during the winter of 1991-1992 was then followed by the 6th coolest summer. The summer of 1998 was the 5th warmest, which then lead to the 5th warmest winter, but that stat measures summer to winter, not winter to summer. So, this takes me back up to the top. No model can tell us for sure what will happen this summer, but if we let history be the deciding factor, then we this summer should not be a record breaker.

-Damon

 

June Weather Pattern in March?
March 15, 2012

It’s been a talker in the weather community. The freakishly warm weather that resembles more like a June weather set-up than a March set-up. What on earth is going on here? Check out these stats/reports that have been noted in the last few days.

It’s not unusual to see tornadoes in Michigan, or 80s in Iowa or even hail in New England. That is, if we’re talking about June here. But, oh yeah, it’s not June. It’s March and thus, it is unusual to see these sort of things. So, why the extreme warmth?

It all has to do with the jet-stream. When we talk about extreme weather systems like tornadoes, or hurricanes or even major snow storms, they tend to be part of strong, fast-moving set-up that is in and out within a day or two. But, when we talk about moving the jet-stream from the north and dropping it south and trying to move large areas or warm air, this takes a lot of energy and tends to occur much more slowly than a tornadic system or even a hurricane.

This is why when we see warm temperatures ( like last summer), they tend to last for a while. And this set-up is no different. Other than a few dips in the jet from time-to-time, the overall pattern will keep the cooler air well north and keep most of us east of The Rockies with temperatures that are well above normal until at least the end of the month. And no, this does not mean we’ll see a crazy hot summer.

-Damon