We can start removing some doubt in the language about the likelihood of an ice storm impacting the region this weekend. The exact locations for heaviest icing are not locked in fully yet. However, what is locked in is that there will be a significant ice storm in the region this weekend. If you live from west Kansas to south-central Oklahoma, it is best to be paying attention to forecasts.
Top two images are higher res and through Friday PM. Rest are through Saturday PM. Three different waves of precip through Sunday it looks! pic.twitter.com/vRtnOLnpY6
— TornadoTitans.com (@TornadoTitans) January 11, 2017
Currently, some high quality moisture is surging northward through Texas. This moisture is actually something out of Spring and not winter.
— J Whitehead (@adxwxsooner) January 11, 2017
Seeing upper 60s dewpoints in the Wintertime making a run north in advance of a shallow arctic front is always a bit foreboding. Currently the upcoming system looks to arrive in multiple waves, with impacts different with each one.
The initial wave of precip will impact mainly central and southern Oklahoma back into the eastern Texas Panhandle. The location of any potential ice storm at this time is definitely the topic of much debate between forecasters and weather models. Currently, it seems like a general consensus of the freezing line being somewhere 50 miles one either side of I-44 is the case.
As such the NWS in Norman has issued a winter storm watch valid for Friday Morning through late Saturday. Ice accumulations of greater than .25″ are possible.
On Saturday a second wave of precip will really get going, mainly from the Texas Panhandle into NW Oklahoma and SW/SC Kansas. This wave looks like it will contain some heavier precip totals, and the expectation is that the freezing line will continue to move north and west through the day on Saturday. There may be little/no break between the Friday Precip and the Saturday/Precip. Consequently, make forecasting the movement of the freezing line difficult.
Expect the heaviest icing on Saturday to be NW of where it was on Friday though.
By Sunday, the freezing line should work north and west by quite a bit as the heaviest precipitation approaches with the main upper storm system. It looks like there is going to be an area, likely somewhere in SW/W Kansas, where heavy rain mixes with subfreezing surface temperatures. Obviously, this would result in some pretty major icing.
Again, the general rule on Sunday is that the heaviest icing will probably happen north and west of where it does on Saturday.
There is no such thing as an ice storm watch, so it is a Winter Storm Watch for a good chunk of Oklahoma. Ice storm looking likely. pic.twitter.com/zsNt8G9zYX
— Brad Sowder (@KOCOBrad) January 11, 2017
So It Is an Ice Storm Then?
Right now, if you live in the Winter Storm Watch in Oklahoma and West/North of that, get prepared. The potential for an ice storm with significant effects is real. There are going to be some significant ice totals with crippling affects somewhere in the region this weekend. Other (more lucky) folks will get some ice but will be spared the worst. Some reading this may simply experience three days of a rather cold and then cool rain. This is especially true the further you live south and east of I-44.
Why is it always I-44? But I digress.
Finally, pay attention to weather forecasts in the coming days. The folks at the NWS and our friends at KOCO are both working overtime on being quite specific on locations and impacts. They’re going to be invaluable the next few days.
We’ll have another blog post overviewing the expected impacts (and likely with much more specificity) tomorrow!