Weather blogs warn of possible extreme cold

scottokla(7)December 11, 2013

A couple of weather blogs I check daily are saying many of the models are predicting extreme cold starting about the 22nd of this month. This is still 10+ days out but there is more agreement in the models than usual so they think it is a decent possibility.

They are talking lows around -10 and highs in single digits. Still a long ways away so don't take it too seriously yet but be aware it is possible starting about a week from this coming Sunday.

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I haven't talked to anyone who is too concerned about global warming this winter.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 6:36PM
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LOL Carol!

On the other hand, my pecan tree is definitely as good as dead, now.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 7:51PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Certainly not my Haitian student!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Well, truth to tell, isn't this weather actually historically more representative?
I know the stories my parents told were of winters that came and stayed (vs our more recent on and off winters) and of colder temps. Point of fact, though only being middle-aged, I remember as a kid, it being more cold than it has been since I was an adult.
Or is this just perception ?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 7:31AM
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The last two winters have definitely been abnormal. I remember many long cold winters during the 45 years I've lived in Ok. 83-84 comes to mind, among others. (My older kids went to their grandparents at the beginning of winter break and stayed there for almost two weeks during repeated snowfall. Meanwhile my two year old was no help at all for my pg self in bringing in firewood and shoveling snow. Those memories stay with you.)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Scott, One of our local TV mets mentioned this yesterday on the evening news, just vaguely alluding to another big mass of Arctic air that was roughly 10 days away. I made a mental note then to stock up on bird seed so I wouldn't run out. We have been Bird Central the last few days as lots of hungry birds have shown up looking for food and water.

Carol, Since the climate change folks say that the sort of climate changes we're experiencing will give us worst weather on both extremes---both hotter and colder, I've been wondering for several years where the colder part of it was. I'm tired of only getting the hotter portion. It is about time we traded in some heat and drought for some cold and snow!

All kidding aside, we have had enough cold-weather-related tragedies with this cold front, and I am not looking forward to seeing more of that kind of tragic news again.

Lisa, I hope Musef (sure I spelled it wrong, but I tried) has enjoyed seeing the 9,000 different ways that Oklahoma weather can drive our residents up the wall. Haven't we had a bit of every kind of weather since he came here to attend school?

dBarron, I think you're right. I remember a lot more colder, snowy and icy weather in the 1960s or 70s through the 1990s than what we have seen in the 2000s. I think we humans tend to have tunnel vision and look at the weather we have had the last 5 or 10 years and presume it is normal, but 5-10 years (or 100 years) is a small blip in time compared to how long the earth has existed. I think there is a huge range in what is considered normal or typical, and even though this weather seems bitterly cold, I bet very few of us set any all-time-low-temperature weather records with this last round of cold weather, because we've been this cold this early before and we'll be this cold this early again.

The fact that in some parts of the state and in adjoining states much of the precipitation that fell did so as freezing rain instead of sleet or snow did seem like it caused a lot more misery by bringing down trees and power lines, etc. Here in southcentral OK, the weather wasn't as bad as initially forecast (for which I am exceedingly grateful) but just a couple of counties away, to our northeast, east and southeast, the freezing rain has caused all sorts of issues, not the least of which is massive power outages and roof collapses. Snow and sleet are a piece of cake compared to freezing rain, and don't we all know that here in OK by now.

Bon, Pecan trees can handle quite a bit of cold. Why do you think yours is dead? Mine has endured this kind of cold and ice over many decades with very little damage.

Dorothy, I remember some pretty strong cold and snow in the same time frame. One year in Ft Worth in the mid-1980s we had a prolonged spell of very cold weather like we are having now, and whenever we finally began to warm up, water mains broke all over the place, filling streets with water than then refroze at night and became very hazardous. It seemed like that spell of bad weather went on at least as long as this one has and possibly was more long-lasting. We had a 4WD vehicle so didn't have too much trouble getting to work and all, but the roads were a mess for many days and it seemed like school was cancelled or started late for days and days.

I think our Love County kids finally are back in school today, but some of the areas that had the freezing rain I mentioned above have yet another snow day today. I'm not sure if the issue for those areas is the power outages that persist, or if the problem is the icy roadways. Even in Sherman, which didn't even have the worst of the freezing rain, some roof collapses have occurred, including part of the garden center roof at Home Depot and the roof of the Sherman Boys and Girls Club.

Our driveway thaws out some and the ice melts all day, and then it refreezes at night. I think we have another night or two of refreezing before it finally gets warm enough that the roads finally will be clear in our area. The heavily traveled roads aren't too bad except in spots where tall trees shade the roads virtually all day, which is what we have on roads on either side of us. Those shaded areas still have very thick ice. Since it is uphill in either direction from our house, we mostly stay home and stay off the roads.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 11:18AM
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My kids will remember the three of the last 5 winters when the pond froze and we played on it instead of the 2 winters which never got cold. When they get older they will probably talk about how it was colder when they were kids.

I do know that we have had the all-time (105 years or so) record cold temperature in the state and the all time (105 years) record high month all in the last 3 years. ( I know you can't really trust metro area temps compared to historical because of the heat-island effect, but outlying weather stations should still give a fair historical perspective.)

I also know that until the last 3 years we have had much wetter than average decades for the last 2 to 3 decades for the state as a whole.

My Davis weather station went up on Jan 1, 2011 so I have hourly data logged on my computer for the last few years that have documented the extreme weather we have had in that time. I wonder if any place else can claim to have had the temperature at one specific location within one weeks time frame swing over 100 degrees like we had with the low of about -22 and the high of 78 that we had in Feb 2011. Probably lots of them if I really thought about it.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 12:03PM
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OK, a quick search just showed that OKC has a record low temp and record high temp for Nov 17 on the SAME DAY in like 1911 or some year I can't remember exactly in the early 1900s. Those record have stood for about a century. High was like 83 and low was in the teens if I remember correctly after a front came through. Both all-time records for that date. The same search showed North Dakota having a temp swing of 181 degrees in the same year from winter low of about -60 to high of over 120 that summer.

All this to say that I'm sure some of the plains states have had 100 degree swings in temps in a 7 day period at some point in time (see my previous post). Hopefully not again coming up week after next.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 12:26PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

i hope it doesnt get that cold. Im already not liking this winter.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 12:47PM
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I can remember when I was very young when we would kill and cure hogs around the first of winter. I don't remember loosing any meat because it got too warm. We would render the lard a few days later, I don't ever the fire not feeling good. I would be afraid to try that now.

I hope we don't have a lot of cold weather either, my joints hurt and I am afraid of falling on the ice. Staying in the house is driving me crazy.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Larry, ditto...I remember my grandfather salting hams and hanging them in Nov and Dec (at least). We never had warm weather (like we do now)...or they'd have probably ruined.

I am not telling you that I walked 20 miles to school in the snow, but it does seem we have more unsettled (and warmer) weather. I do remember the -27F that I had in Chelsea during Jan or Feb a couple years back's just generally less get cold and stay cold than it used to be.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 7:32PM
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I haven't heard anything new about this in the last 24 hrs so I'm hoping the models have shifted a bit. I'm still hearing arctic front, but not record cold type of comments.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Uh-oh. Two more mentions today of temps likely being below zero for a few days in a row during the week of Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:06PM
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And now our channel 6 guy said it looks not to be as cold as it looked like just a couple days ago (good chance of ice though). Don't know what that means but tomorrow morning all the regular guys will be back and I'm sure they will all spend a lot of time looking at it and guessing what will happen.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Unfortunately, that's all it is...good guesses. Last I heard (2-3 years ago), computer models are still slower than real time weather when they take everything into consideration. That's why the weather forecasts change...we just have to wait and see.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 5:39AM
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Here is another example of how amazing modern weather models are: One full week ago I saw first mention of many weather models bringing an arctic front in with the possibility of ice or snow for this Fri-Sat. That is a full 11 days before the actual event was to happen. Even being off a day or two on the timing that is still impressive.

The models can't really deal with the specifics of these shallow arctic air masses yet, but over time they will get better and better. This stuff is extremely valuable for people in agriculture and for "wannabe hobby guys" like me.

Oh, and I still have not seen any recent predictions of extreme cold. Right now the predictions through Monday are still not as cold as the last round. We should know more in the next 24 hrs.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:33AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

It is pretty amazing. Thanks for keeping us informed scott.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:50AM
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If anyone has any good information from a reliable source, let us know. Right now I still don't see anything below the high teens through Monday, although one meteorologist said it would not warm back up much until Jan.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Feeling better about cold (lack of) temps and Ice (lack of) tonight for weekend. Weather folks are really hedging right now.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

The reliable weather sources here in our region hedged from the moment the models started showing the Arctic cold front, and said repeatedly that the wintery precip was very unlikely to make it this far south. Even when the NWS forecast had us at a 20-30% chance of precip, and likely wintery precip at that, our temperatures still were going to be barely at or below freezing, so I felt like we would be okay down here.

Incredibly, we still have patches of sleet here that haven't completely melted from the last storm, although they are shrinking in size every day and now remain only in really shady areas.

I hope we have reasonably decent weather for the rest of the month so everyone can just enjoy the holidays and stay safe.

Scott, I do think our local electric co-op was concerned about the prospects for another ice storm at the end of the week. Their employees or sub-contractors were out in our neighborhood yesterday,clearing areas beneath and beside power lines where anything was growing that could be a threat to the power lines if icing occurred.

Ever since either Sat or Sun, our local forecast has trended warmer and warmer, so I haven't been too worried.

I agree that the models do an amazing job of predicting the general trends. Just look at how often they can warn us 6-10 days out that a tornado outbreak is likely in a specific area on a specific day or days, and indeed, somewhere in the area they've highlighted, tornadoes generally do occur on those days. I think it is particularly helpful that they can issue PDS advisories days in advance when the models indicate a Particularly Dangerous Situation could develop.

We are nice and warm down here, Scott. While the nights may be cooler than we'd like, our highs this week are in the 60s and may hit the 70s for a day or two. I'm guessing y'all must not be quite as warm there as we are here. Unfortunately, with warmer air temps in winter and lots of dormant and somewhat dry vegetation, our winter fire season may be starting early. We had a relatively small grass fire (maybe a half-acre) Sunday, another one yesterday that threatened a barn and vehicles before firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the blaze quickly, and 4 more grass fires overnight. With some windy days this week, we're likely to have more little fires. I think we are too wet overall for them to get big and move quickly.....and hope I am right about that. After the two rain/ice/sleet/snow storms we've had in the last few weeks, the ground is so muddy that firefighting brush trucks are getting stuck in the mud at some of the fires we've been having. Normally the bad part of the winter wildfire season doesn't start until February or March. I'm hoping for a quiet winter, both in terms of weather and wildfire.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


"Your" storm now is officially something to watch and maybe worry about.

The NWS has issued a Special Weather Statement regarding the expected arrival of the next arctic cold front.

I linked it below so everyone interested can read it and see how it might apply to their part of the region.

In the last paragraph they do make it clear that the models continue to disagree with one another (don't they always?) but it seems that the confidence is high regarding some sort of winter precip being an issue in some areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Special Weather Statement from the NWS

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 1:06PM
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This morning's forecasts are all over the place again and have me worried about too much water in some form. Three nice days around 60 until then though.

The NAM (North American Model) has been a joke on this storm. I just don't trust it at all. I wish I could find the European model is this type of format.

Here is a link that might be useful: North American model precip forecast

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 1:17PM
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My poor garlic. If i'm not stepping on them, they're getting wet.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 11:32PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Scott, i love the model precip forecast that you posted, but I've never seen the Euro in that format. I'm sure it likely is available at some subscription weather website, but couldn't begin to guess which one. I tend to ignore the NAM more often than not, and think the Euro puts it to shame in a lot of situations.

Our local guys are buying into the Euro's solution for this storm and have shown it on the evening news. Parts of the local Texoma region could get a lot of rain, but I'm not sure mine will be one of the them. I haven't looked at anything much today, but yesterday it looked like parts of SE OK could have more rain than they want. It is too bad that some of that heavy rain couldn't fall (and heavily) in the drought-stricken portions of western OK and western North Texas that really need the rain in the worst possible way.

I have avoided even looking at the QPF until today because I didn't want to get my hopes up. Anytime the QPF shows us getting a lot of rain and I get excited about it, something goes horribly wrong and the rain misses us completely or almost completely. I'm at the point where I don't want to look at it, get my hopes up and then be disappointed again.

Some people in Texas are freaking out over this storm and are taking "being prepared" to a whole new level. I won't mention where my DH works because most folks here already know, but one of his job assignments yesterday was to schedule full staffing for his employer's Emergency Operations Center (they have standard plans in place....just need people to fill the slots) in case this storm brings them wintery precip, and I don't think there will be snow within 100 to 150 miles of them at best. (Or maybe I should say at worst?) If this storm mysteriously hits north central Texas instead of northwestern OK with tons of snow, though, his employer is well prepared for it : )


    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 2:37PM
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