A winter storm will move through the Southern Plains tonight into Wednesday morning bringing heavy snow and treacherous travel conditions for large swaths of the region. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect and snow totals could approach 8-12 inches in localized areas.
Timing of the Snow
An upper storm system is emerging into New Mexico this evening, with snow already ongoing across the state. That storm system should continue to swing out towards West Texas by tomorrow morning before ejecting east and north throughout the day tomorrow.
But how much snow will fall?
This is the actual question you have isn’t it? Well the answer is pretty complex at this point but let’s do our best!
It’s About Probabilities
- Right now, it does look like a lot of snow is going to fall in the region. The thermodynamics will support a changeover to snow — but many people will see rain and then snow that doesn’t accumulate at first.
- Because of this, the snowfall totals maps I think are not a good indicator of how much snow is going to actually accumulate. In fact, I think accumulations could vary wildly.
- Warm ground temperatures will mean snow won’t stick as well at first. This might mean 1-3” that would’ve otherwise accumulated will melt before snow starts piling up.
Expected Snow Accumulation Totals
- I think the heaviest totals from this system will be somewhat concentrated, likely in the Texas Panhandle into Southwest Oklahoma along and just north of the eventual low pressure track. Here I can see 4-8” of snow.
- Most of the snow will fall south of I-40 in the region west of I-35. The low will begin swinging more north than east at this point, so the swath of snow will likely begin moving north as well as you get into Eastern Oklahoma and NW Arkansas where localized amounts of 4-8” of snow being likely as well.
- For areas like Oklahoma City or Wichita Falls, snow totals will generally be less than 4”. There will likely be a sharp gradient both to the north and to the south, so some areas in winter weather advisories right now may end up with a brief burst of snow that doesn’t really accumulate.
- Roads may be more slushy initially which could lead to (what I think) is an even more hazardous driving condition of icy roads vs. snowpacked in some areas.
What You Can Count On
- Travel impacts are certain. Areas in winter storm warnings right now have the highest chances of impactful travel interruptions over the next 24-48 hours.
- Expect school closures as well.
- If you want to enjoy the snow, get out there tomorrow as the warm ground temperatures will ensure this snow doesn’t stick around too long.
- This will be a heavy and wet snow, which will be good for things like building a snowman but will be bad for possibly causing power outages and some minor sporadic damage.
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