Saturday, December 22, 2012

It Takes Snowballs to Forecast Snow Totals This Early

Hello friends!  Alright, I'll give you one last update on this blog about the Christmas storm.  So the models are finally coming into better agreement.


I am showing snapshots of the latest ECMWF run (12Z).  This first image shows little to no precipitation, however we could have a light mist/drizzle briefly changing to sleet and then to snow.  The cold air moves in so rapidly that the change should be rather quick.  This is good news because any type of ice would be HORRIBLE!

6AM Christmas Morning
 The blue line is the freezing line.  Notice how it is through the entire state by mid-day Christmas.  We will have powerful Northerly winds with gusts to 40.  This image shows snow across most of the state with band of heavier snow from West Central to South Central Oklahoma.
Noon Christmas Day
 This last image indicates that we will be well below freezing by 6pm Christmas Day, likely bringing temps in the teens Northern Oklahoma and the upper 20's for Central Oklahoma.  Snow coverage and intensity should increase for the afternoon hours in Oklahoma, especially along and south of I-40.  The heaviest snow in the entire state will fall around this time period into the evening for Southeastern Oklahoma.  This is associated with a surface low pressure system moving along the Texas and Oklahoma border.  Typically the heaviest snow is on the northwest side of a surface low pressure winter storm system.  If the Low pressure moves slightly further North, this will impact the placement of this "bullseye" of heavy snow.

How Much?

This is one of the toughest parts of forecasting but I am throwing out a *preliminary estimate* of snowfall totals.  Side note, love the National Weather Service but if us broadcasters have to publicly put ourselves out  there in terms of snowfall should too! C'mon! 

Here is an example of what we use to forecast snow totals.  This is the latest run (18Z) of the GFS model showing 2 snow "bullseyes."  One is in Northwestern Oklahoma and the highest totals are in Southeastern Oklahoma.  The one in Southeastern Oklahoma matches what I showed in the forecast models above with the snow increasing late Christmas Day in this part of the state.  This model says we could get 14" in this part of the state. That seems crazy high but I wouldn't throw it out the window because this is the same model that said we would get more than a foot of snow with the 2009 blizzard and WE DID.

By blending the forecast models and the GFS snow model forecast I ended up with this:


If you can, don't travel on Christmas.  It will be a hot mess all day. There will be blowing and drifting of snow.  The few plows Oklahoma own and sand cannot stand up against 30 mph winds.  All it takes is one accident to cause a major pileup and then close down Interstates.  PLEASE STAY OFF THE ROADS ON CHRISTMAS! I AM BEGGING YOU!

I will not be around to update you all so please watch NewsChannel 4 for the latest updates.  My homeboys Troy and Chase have got your back!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Be Merry, be blessed and BE SAFE!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Storm Update

Hello friends! I have had a few requests to update the Christmas storm.  Even though it's my day off, I love you all (and weather) so much that I will give you an update on the Christmas forecast!

So the 2 separate weather computer models I mentioned in earlier posts are finally coming to an agreement.  If only our political parties could do the same! ZING! Okay.  For real though, both models have cold air blasting into Oklahoma on Christmas Day.
Can't we just all get along?

This is the previous model run (00Z) of the ECMWF, the usual model of choice.  I am showing the previous run so I can point out when the model is picking up on snow.  This model shows snow in Oklahoma the day after Christmas (26th).
00Z run of the ECMWF at 6pm on December 26th

The newer model run suggests even drier air in place.  Granted, this is 12 hours earlier than posted above (showing 6am versus 6pm on the 26th).

12Z run of the ECMWF at 6am on December 26th


When it comes to seeing snow with this storm system, the GFS is the most optimistic.  The GFS also started out very dramatic suggesting a major blizzard and now has calmed down substantially and is moving towards the ECMWF's solution.

12Z run of the GFS at 6pm on December 25th
The latest run of the GFS shows snow late Christmas Day with heavy snow in northwestern Oklahoma.  This model keeps the snow in Oklahoma through Christmas night and then dries us out by the 26th.  This contradicts earlier runs (shown in my previous posts) where it had heavy snow the 2 days after Christmas (26 and 27).  MAKE UP YOUR MIND GFS!

In conclusion, we know for sure it's going to get downright FRIGID on Christmas and possibly the coldest temps we've seen all season for the 26th.  There is still a chance for snow on Christmas but it will likely be late or not even until the 26th.  The drought highly impacts our weather and as a result, I personally lean more towards the ECMWF.  Not to mention, it has had a better run to run continuity than the GFS (better track record).

Now the amount of snow is TBD.  It will be cold enough to stick.  Stay tuned for the latest and keep dreaming of a White Christmas!  Or more than likely...a White Day After Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Storm Update

Alright folks.  So this is why we say "stay tuned for updates."  Winter weather is notorious for being challenging to forecast due to the speed and intensity of the storm system and the amount of cold air and moisture available.

Here is the latest run of the ECMWF that I showed you in the previous post.  The previous post had moderate to heavy snow over Oklahoma.  The latest run does not show any snow AT ALL.  Why is this? The latest run shows the system moving farther North and faster.  According to this model, we will still have a cold blast on Christmas and the day after but no snow.
12Z run of ECMWF showing 6pm on Christmas.

Don't cry snow lovers. There is still hope!  A lot of meteorologists do not like the GFS.  The GFS usually has trouble making its mind up (run to run continuity)...however, the GFS was the ONLY correct model in forecasting the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 2009.  So I wouldn't throw it out the window quite yet.

The latest run of the GFS slows the system down, bringing cold rain on Christmas Day and snow 1.5-2 days later.
12Z run of GFS showing 6AM Dec 26th

The GFS then has the storm system dropping far South and bringing in cold air late December 26th.
12Z run of the GFS showing 6AM Dec 27th
The latest run of the GFS then says we will see moderate to heavy snow over Oklahoma on Thursday, December 27th.

So no, we cannot give you a definite answer right now whether or not we will see snow.  What I CAN tell you is that is will get cold and windy on the 26th.  I, along with the rest of the 4Warn Storm Team, will be closely monitoring this storm system so please stay tuned for the latest.

I know there is no definite answer right now but at least I am keeping it real!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Hello friends!  Sorry I haven't written in awhile!  The Christmas season is here!  Christmas is my favorite holiday but this year it is very special since it is the first time in FOUR years that I get to go home to Chicago to be with my family.  Working holidays is a part of the biz and unfortunately, Christmas is not a holiday for local news.  I do enjoy tracking Santa on Christmas Eve for the kiddos.  If you'd like to track Santa for your kids here is the link.


I'm dreaming of a White Christmas...

Just like the ones I used to know.

Okay, maybe not that bad.  Yes, my first Christmas away from home was spent on my News Director's couch, snowed in on Christmas Eve 2009.  Welcome to NewsChannel 4!

According to the National Weather Service, a "White Christmas" is defined as an area having at least 1 inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day.  According to NOAA, climatology says most of Oklahoma has a less than 5 percent chance of having an official "White Christmas."

So will we see an official "White Christmas" this year? If the current models verify then YES.

This is the 00Z run of the ECMWF at 6pm on Christmas Day.  This is showing snow...heavy snow...over Oklahoma.  The previous run showed a lighter version of what you see above.  So, should we start freaking out? No.  This is still a WAYS out in forecast land and winter weather is arguably one of the toughest types of weather to forecast.  Another model, the GFS shows slightly warmer air in place which would delay rain changing to snow and lend to smaller accumulations.

All I am saying is that there is a chance for accumulating snow on Christmas. Considering there has been very calm weather in Oklahoma for several months....this is very exciting! So stay tuned for the latest!