Wavy NW flow: Unsettled pattern with limited moisture

UPDATE: Fri 21 Jan 2011 / 5:15p.m.

The extended forecast remains the same. I'm taking any mention of snow out of the forecast for now since temperatures look too warm.

Even if a few flakes fall during one of these light precipitation events, it'd be flurries as opposed to anything sticking.


We will be in a rather cold pattern during the next week, with temperatures averaging 5-10 degrees below normal on any given day (the “normal” temperatures for late January are a high in the low 50s and lows near freezing).

What makes this a forecaster’s nightmare is the steering flow aloft. A deep low will re-develop over the eastern U.S. in the coming days. A fairly stout ridge will re-form over the western U.S., putting the middle of the nation in a NW steering flow. This pattern has more or less persisted since November.

A series of short waves will ride down the ridge and across the southern Plains (discussion continues below map).

Accurate timing of each wave will be very tricky. Troughs (dashed white lines on map above) of shorter wavelength move more quickly so even a small error in their estimated speed or direction gives a bigger “bust” potential. There’s also the problem of moisture. The lower levels will remain rather dry as high pressure cells drop into the northern Gulf during the next week and keep higher dewpoints well to our south.

However, the strength of a trough can sometimes overcome this shortage of moisture and generate some precipitation. So I'm keeping low chances for rain and/or snow with these waves as they pass.

The models are all over the road on the timing of each short wave, but they all agree on a fairly cold period for Texoma. The ECMWF continues to perform the best and has done so for most of the winter, so I’m using it for my 7-day timing.


Take Care,


Steve LaNore

Chief Meteorologist




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  • by Steve LaNore Location: KXII-TV on Jan 24, 2011 at 01:36 PM
    Brandon, You're right my friend! Models continue to show a southern-stream mid-level low coming across early next week (Jan 31-Feb 1) with some chance of precipitation. The low-level air may be very dry which would severely limit rain or snow amounts...but that will depend on when the next strong front comes through. Right now, I’m expecting an arctic frontal passage on Jan 29th...if that doesn't happen, then we'll have greater moisture content for some precipitation early next week. Of course...that's assuming the low moves as shown by the models. It's an awful lot of guessing this far away. An example of why models have to be taken with a grain of salt beyond three days: ECMWF and others indicated a strong front surging southward for Wednesday a few days ago. Now that front has almost completely fizzled in the shorter-range outlook. It was a busted forecast. Take Care, Steve
  • by blie Location: central on Jan 24, 2011 at 12:52 PM
    i was looking at a long range forecast on accuweather, and it shows a winter event too, north texas seeing snow, and southern texas seeing ice, and its supposed to take place at the end of this month and beginning of feb.
  • by Brandon Location: Sherman on Jan 23, 2011 at 04:05 PM
    For a few days now models continue to be in agreement of atleast some parts of Texas (and possibly Texoma) getting "significant" winter weather early Feb. We will see what happens. Still kind of far out..
  • by Steve LaNore Location: KXII-TV on Jan 21, 2011 at 08:27 PM
    Given the semi-permanent blocking low over eastern Canada, I expect more cold air blobs heading southward into the southern Plains through the end of January. HOWEVER...model projections of a storm 10-12 days out are notoriously unreliable, so I will reserve comment on that part of the deal. But chilly weather? More likely than not. Take Care, Steve
  • by James H Location: Ladonia on Jan 21, 2011 at 04:47 PM
    Winter Mr Blue,,,looks crazy right now but it is still ong off. Could turn out to be nothing but you never know.
  • by blue Location: central on Jan 21, 2011 at 03:49 PM
    what kind of storm are you speaking of james? winter storm or severe storm?
  • by James H Location: Ladonia on Jan 21, 2011 at 10:27 AM
    Hey Steve, I know this is alittle of topic for what you have here but I have noticed that the gfs models are showing a large storm for us around feb 1/2/3. I just wanted to know your thoughts on this. I know its along way out and it can change over night but it sure does look nasty for us.
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