Welcome to this week’s OU Nightly Weekly Weather Recap!
It was an unseasonably warm start to the week in Norman, with temperatures reaching 70 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sooners also endured winds gusting as high as 37 miles per hour on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Norman.
Red Flag Warnings were issued for portions west of Norman on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a brush fire reported along I-35 South near Riverwind Casino Wednesday evening. No injuries were reported from the fire, which was contained as of Thursday.
The warm and dry weather came to an end early Thursday morning as a cold front marched across the state, bringing with it the first severe thunderstorm watch of 2022 for Cleveland County.
No severe thunderstorm nor tornado warnings were issued for the Norman area, and no major hail or wind damage were reported as the storms rolled through.
Norman did pick up some much needed rainfall. According to NWS Norman, 0.82 inches of rain had fallen by Thursday morning.
Behind the front, temperatures plummeted over 40 degrees into the 20s by Thursday afternoon. A few flurries were spotted in Norman on Thursday morning, while accumulations impacted portions of northern Oklahoma.
Windy weather and clouds returned in Norman on Thursday behind the front, with winds gusting over 40 miles per hour and sending wind chills into the single digits.
The threat for wildfires was present this week across portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Arkansas, prompting several Red Flag Warnings.
On Tuesday, a fire was reported out of Camp Robinson in Arkansas, according to a tweet by NWS Little Rock.
Winds exceeding 45 miles per hour were reported in Wichita, Kansas on Tuesday evening, heightening the risk of fire weather across portions of the Sunflower State.
Butler County Emergency Communications posted to its Facebook on Tuesday and Wednesday, urging locals west of El Dorado, Kansas to stay vigilant of a large grass fire that later prompted evacuations.
The NWS in Norman issued a severe thunderstorm watch for portions of central Oklahoma and north central Texas Wednesday evening into Thursday morning, with threats of “quarter-size hail, a few tornadoes, and scattered wind gusts of 70 miles per hour” all in play.
The strongest storm prompted a tornado warning for Stephens and Jefferson Counties in Oklahoma until 3am Thursday morning and was allowed to expire within 15 minutes.
The Storm Prediction Center reported a mobile home had shifted from its foundation from high winds in Garvin, Oklahoma early Thursday morning.
As the system moved east, tornado watches were issued Thursday afternoon across portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.
Several tornado warnings were issued, with four preliminary tornadoes reported across Alabama Thursday afternoon. One tornado in Jefferson County blew a tree onto a house “causing entrapment”, per the Storm Prediction Center’s preliminary survey reports.
Meanwhile, flooding rains grappled portions of western Kentucky on Thursday. Mayfield, Kentucky, a community ravaged by an EF-4 tornado back in December, remained under a flash flood warning Thursday evening.
The NWS Paducah urged Kentuckians to “turn around and find an alternate path” on Twitter as standing water inundated roadways in the region Thursday night.
Behind the cold front prompting severe weather along the Southern Plains and Deep South, a winter storm unfolded across portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan on Thursday.
Drivers in Kansas City found themselves stranded on snowy interstates for several hours on Thursday, according to video posted by KMBC.
Further east, NWS Lincoln, Illinois reported areas of west central Illinois and eastern Missouri picking up between six and eight inches of snow as of Thursday evening. Drivers were urged to stay vigilant as windy conditions continued to blow snow onto roadways, diminishing visibility.
In central Indiana, heavy rains preceded snowfall, where the Indianapolis International Airport recorded a record 1.49 inches of rain as of 4pm, according to the NWS Indianapolis.
As temperatures drop into the teens and single digits, Hoosiers were advised to be on the lookout for black ice accumulations from standing water Thursday night into Friday morning.
National Weekend Forecast at a Glance
By Friday, the cold front will continue working its way east, bringing snow to portions of the Northeast and rain to the mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The severe weather threat remains low, but storms may produce heavy rains, small hail, and gusty winds as the system moves offshore.
Multiple areas of high pressure will begin building in the Southwest, Southern Plains, and Midwest, with dry conditions expected and temperatures on the rise. Spring-like temperatures in the 60s will return by Saturday and into Sunday across the Heartland.
Another winter storm will ravage portions of North Dakota and Minnesota on Friday into Saturday as it works its way east into the Great Lakes region and parts of New England.
Portions of eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota remain under blizzard warnings through Friday evening. The NWS in Grand Forks, North Dakota expects “snow up to two inches and winds gusting as high as 60 miles per hour.”
Drivers in the region should plan ahead as blowing snow and high winds will continue to reduce visibility and possibly down trees. The NWS Grand Forks also warns of “frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes” as wind chills could dip to a staggering 30 below zero.
Additionally, the NWS Detroit/Pontiac, Michigan urged Michiganders to “keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency” through Friday.
Another storm system will dump rain in portions of the Pacific Northwest and bring snow to higher elevations starting Saturday. This system could potentially bring another rain and snow maker to the Central and Southern Plains by midweek.