Fri 15 Dec November 2017 / 5:15 pm
There’s been a lot of chatter, as there always is, when there’s any chance of ice or snow in Texoma. And who can blame us, especially now? It’s exciting to think of snow around Christmas time, while it would be a pain for others traveling or working.
But…hold on. A colorful Internet display of a weather model forecast is far short of a guarantee. Taking a look at such a product and promising snow is what I like to call “dartboard science”. You might wind up being right, but not because of any skill. I’d rather not count on luck for my weather forecasts, I’ll leave that at the poker table.
Here’s the deal: Some models are showing a chance for snow or ice around Christmas....BUT...we’re still more than a week away. The National Weather Service made a comment about this (see accompanying graphics); note the text inside the blue box, highlighted to make a point. I also include here two models that show different things about that time period.
Model #1, the ECMWF, shows a large area of precipitation developing on Christmas Eve over Texoma; this is based on the track of an upper low across a dome of cold air, creating snow or freezing rain.
Model #2, the GFS, shows a similar pattern, but about 100 miles farther south, leaving us just on the northern edge of the precipitation area.
Now, the fact that the two models both show precipitation in our general area more than a week out gives us some confidence that it could happen. The problem is, let’s say the upper-level component which is the trigger for this event changes course by just 10 compass degrees next Thursday. After several days on its new course, it could easily be 300 or 400 miles off its target track, leaving us whistling for snow under a sunny, cold Christmas Eve sky.
I have greater confidence that it will be much colder by next weekend. Upper-air patterns that push cold air into Texoma are often foreseen five or six days out as these are larger changes show up more reliably farther out in time. There are two rounds of potential winter precip. covering the period December 22 through Christmas Eve.
So, given the model continuity and the expected cold pattern (see maps), we have some potential of ice or snow in that window of time. Please bear in mind that “potential” is vastly different from “promise”. No dartboard science here!
News 12 / KXII-TV