Weekend Arctic Front And Snow?
As detailed in our 2016-2017 Winter Outlook, the Southern Plains is an area in which winter troubles are possible. The next potential winter weather event is several days down the road, so this is more of a discussion of what I am monitoring right now and not an official forecast. I am keeping a close eye on the upcoming weekend for the Southern Plains. A potent surface-low will move across southern Kansas on Saturday, which will allow for an arctic cold front to ooze into Oklahoma and northern Texas Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday. Temperatures on Saturday will be in the 20s/30s behind the front while areas ahead of the front will be in the 70s! The movement of dense arctic airmasses is not particularly portrayed well by models, so the cold front may move at a faster pace than model depiction.
2m Surface Temperatures: Saturday Afternoon (GFS)
The aforementioned surface-low will have precipitation associated with it. Parts of Kansas and Missouri will likely see rain, which will transition to snow as the low moves towards the northeast. Please note, since this event is several days out, the track of the surface low may change, which would cause southward or northward adjustments of wintry precipitation chances.
A second area of wintry precipitation that needs to be evaluated is for parts of Oklahoma and northern Texas late in the day on Saturday. Light snow showers may develop as an area of robust ascent occurs across Oklahoma and northern Texas as the base of a trough approaches this area.
500mb Vorticity Map: Saturday Evening (CMC)
It is important to note that while adequate lift and cold temperatures (throughout the entire atmospheric column) will be present, moisture will be limited. The cold front will act to scour out the low-level moisture, which would keep any snow very light if precipitation manages to develop.
6-Hour Precipitation Rate & Type: Saturday Evening (CMC)
Again, this potential event is several days out, so a lot will change. One thing that is certain, temperatures Saturday night will be very cold across the area—windchills will be well below freezing so dress accordingly. I will continue to monitor this potential event and have updates as needed. Early next week needs to be monitored for Arkansas and northeastern Texas, but more on that later in the week.